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Bethel University student dies working summer job clearing weeds from Lac Lavon

Bethel University student dies while working summer job
Bethel University student dies while working summer job 01:32

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — A tragedy on a lake in the south metro has a family and community in mourning.

Joe Anderson was a Bethel University student who died last week while working his summer job on Lac Lavon in Apple Valley.

Anderson's family says he was on one of his first dives clearing lake weeds and debris when he didn't come back up.

They say co-workers found him after a few minutes and first responders took him to the hospital.

"There were a lot of police cars and ambulances and they were just going really fast," said a neighbor named Carrie. "Just a lot of chaos."

Sadly, Anderson died a few days later.

His family says his scuba equipment worked, but he was found in the lake with his respirator out.

Anderson's sister wrote in an online post, "We were hoping and praying with all our strength for a miracle up until the end," saying that before he died, "We all recalled our favorite memories together, Joe's many wonderful character qualities, and the ways Joe inspired us all and called us on to greatness."

"It's just a sad story of anybody having a death on the lake," said Robin Johnson, who's been going to Lac Lavon for more than 25 years.

Minnesota OSHA says it's investigating what happened.

In 2022, a worker removing weeds in Lake Minnetonka drowned. It resulted in six OSHA violations for that company and more than $100,000 in fines.

Hearing of Anderson's death has stirred parents like Johnson to put greater emphasis on water safety for their own kids.

"Teach the kids how to swim," Johnson said. "Teach the kids how to be safe, and [it's] just as important with the adults. They need to be safe too and be aware of what's going on around them."

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