Authorities search St. Croix for missing boater

High water, swift current slows recovery efforts

By ERIK SANDIN – Stillwater Gazette

PRESCOTT, Wis. – A high, swift moving St. Croix River is slowing rescue workers’ efforts to recover the body of a Welch, Minn., man who fell from his boat Tuesday evening while docking the craft.

Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove identified the missing man as 65-year-old Merriet Maul. She said Maul apparently fell in the St. Croix as the boat he was in was docking at Prescott’s courtesy dock.

"He went to step on the dock and fell in," Hove said about Maul. "Somebody went in to get him and couldn’t bring him up."

Hove said others in the boat, including Maul’s wife, told investigators they did not see Maul fall from the boat.

Personnel from the Washington, Dakota and Goodhue Sheriff’s departments, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Prescott Fire Department EMS and dive team are aiding Hove’s department in the search for Maul.

"Right now, they’re doing the dock area," she said, adding that the swift running river is hampering the search.

With the Fourth of July holiday approaching and warm summer temperatures, Hove urges anyone boating on the St. Croix to wear life jackets.

"Life jackets would be a wonderful thing," she said. "With the current and high water, I would advise wearing a life jacket. She’s (St. Croix) high and moving fast."

Maul is the second person to drown in the river this month. About two weeks ago, 18-year-old Alexander "Cookie" Cook of Lake Elmo drowned while trying to swim across a St. Croix channel between Hudson, Wis., and Minnesota.