Authorities have identified a 23-year-old Grand Forks man who drowned Saturday night as Andrew Torrey.
Torrey was last heard from Saturday at 7:30 p.m., according to the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigator Rod Huot said details of how Torrey drowned are not clear, but he said it was typical for Torrey to go out and fish.
“He was an avid fisherman,” Huot said. “He would go to Turtle River and various places around the area, so it wasn’t uncommon for him to spend many hours out fishing.”
Kayakers found an unattended air mattress, which has also been described as a raft, with a cellphone and fishing gear floating at 8 a.m. Sunday on the English Coulee diversion pond southwest of Grand Forks. The regional water operations and county unmanned aircraft teams searched the location and recovered Torrey in 10 feet of water, about 50 feet from the shore, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Huot said using an aerial drone and other equipment is typical when they are searching for someone in the water.
“With the combination of the unmanned aerial system and then combined with the Northeast Water Rescue they were able to locate and recover the body,” he said.
The Grand Forks County coroner has ruled his death an accidental drowning, pending a full autopsy, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Huot said “there is nothing to suggest otherwise at this time.”Water safety
The accidental drowning in Grand Forks is the second in the state and the third in the region in less than a week.
On Friday last week, a 6-year-old boy boy drowned in a West Fargo retention pond. On Wednesday, 9-year-old Grace Bettie of Moorhead drowned in a swimming area at Buffalo River State Park near Glyndon, Minn.
“This (incident) was at an isolated pond,” Huot said of the Grand Forks drowning, but noted that in general water safety is important.
“Let people know your intentions. If you are going to be alone by yourself (let people know) the time you go out there and a reasonable time to make contact with you again,” Huot said.
West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller said told Forum News Service Friday that people should always call 911 right away if they see someone who may be drowning and leave the rescue to first responders.
Huot said people should always wear a life jacket when boating as well.
“Always have a life preserver, an adequate one, on you and whatever passengers you have,” he said. “It should be enough for everybody in the boat and not just under the seats but actually in arm’s reach or rather on.”