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Wisconsin man drowns after falling out of fishing boat on Chippewa River

ALMA, Wis. - A 53-year-old Wisconsin man drowned Saturday in the Tiffany Wildlife Refuge near here.

Lawrence Ellenberger of Maiden Rock drowned at about 5:30 p.m. after he fell into the backwaters of the refuge about a half-mile south of the Chippewa River.

Buffalo County Sheriff Michael Schmidtknecht said the victim was fishing with a Pepin, Wis., man when their boat's engine quit working. The victim was trying to start the engine and was pulling the rope when it started unexpectedly. Ellenberger lost his balance and fell into the water.

The boat kept going around the victim until the other man was able to reach the back and take control. He saw the Maiden Rock man had gone under the surface.

There were no life vests on the boat.

The Sheriff's Department was notified at 6 p.m. The drowning occurred alongside Highway 35, one mile north of Highway 25.

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