Victims in Boating Accident Found

7/25/11 – All four people killed in a weekend boating accident that forced a wedding to be postponed in Chippewa County have now been found. A kayaker discovered the body of 25-year-old Luke Pohl of Minnesota yesterday morning. And just over an hour-and-a-half later, rescuers found 28-year-old Matthew Simonson also of Minnesota. Both were supposed to be groomsmen for a wedding on Saturday — but the groom was injured in Friday night’s crash, and authorities said he was still hospitalized last evening. Authorities said a speedboat collided with a pontoon-type boat that carried the males of the wedding party. It happened on the Chippewa River in the village of Lake Hallie. A third groomsman, 28-year-old Matthew Overhulser of Eau Claire, was killed along with the operator of the speedboat, 50-year-old Mark Michels of Eau Claire. A Hayward woman on the speedboat was hospitalized in fair condition in Eau Claire yesterday. Three others who were thrown from the larger boat were able to swim to safety. The state D-N-R is helping Chippewa County deputies figure out the cause of the crash. A 56-year-old Eau Claire man who drove the pontoon-type boat was arrested after the mishap but was later released – and officials said the probe could take months to complete. Reports said the speed-boat had been at a tavern. It was not known where the other boat had come from.