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Man drowns in Temperance River on North Shore

A 20-year-old man drowned Friday evening while swimming in the Temperance River in Cook County.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office reported that Pavel Shtrefleng of Eden Prairie, Minn., was swimming in a pool on the Lake Superior side of Minnesota Highway 61, just below the bridge, at about 5:25 p.m. Friday when he got caught in the current and was pulled underwater.

Shtrefleng's brother tried to reach him but was unable to do so because of the current, the sheriff's office reported. Shtrefleng was submerged for about four to five minutes before being released by the current. His brother and another bystander then brought him to shore and CPR was performed for about 20 to 30 minutes before the Cook County Ambulance arrived.

Shtrefleng was transported to the Cook County North Shore Hospital in Grand Marais, where he was pronounced dead.

Temperance River State Park, near Schroeder, is a popular stop on the North Shore where the river descends through a series of gorges and rapids to Lake Superior. It has been the site of at least six other fatal accidents since the mid-1990s:

  • In July 2009, a 45-year-old Ramsey, Minn., man drowned when he was swept away by the current while swimming in the river.
  • In June 2008, two members of a Twin Cities-area church group drowned when they were swept away after wading into a pool in the river just upstream from Highway 61.
  • In June 2001, a 22-year-old Finland man died from head injuries after falling into the river when he slipped while attempting to climb down a steep rock face.
  • In August 2000, a 50-year-old Arbor Vitae, Wis., man died after diving into the river to save his 8-year-old son, who was swimming in the river and being swept by the current into Lake Superior. The father pushed his son closer to shore, where others pulled him to safety.
  • In July 1999, a 48-year-old Remer man drowned after he rescued his 12-year-old daughter from the river after she became trapped in the current. After saving his daughter, the man disappeared. Searchers recovered his body three days later.
  • In August 1996, a 14-year-old Crystal, Minn., boy drowned after he dove into river just below a waterfall near Highway 61 while swimming with friends.

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