Leann Eckroth –
A North Dakota native who volunteered with the nonprofit Fire Academy ND in Mandan died Saturday in a Minnesota lake while scuba diving.
An autopsy for Jim Reardon, 51, of Pierz, Minn. is being done by the Otter Tail County coroner.
Reardon, formerly of Medina, was videotaping during a scuba dive at Lake Seven or Scrap Lake near Vergas, Minn.
He was conducting a “pre-drill survey” for the training session scheduled a few weeks later, according to Darrell Graf, who was his diving partner Saturday.
Graf, who is chief of the nonprofit Fire Academy ND, believes Reardon had a massive heart attack.
“We found him about 40 feet from the dock on the lake bottom.
All of his gear was on and his tank was working. He was an experienced diver,” Graf said.
Graf said the Minnesota lake was selected for the training exercise because it was clear and allowed for better training for those interested from the North Dakota program.
“We were doing an exploratory dive for a group dive for people interested in rescue diving,” Graf said.
He and Reardon somehow became separated during the scuba dive. “He had been videotaping.
I couldn’t see him. I came up and couldn’t find his bubbles.
When you lose track of your (diving partner), you look for the bubbles,” Graf said. A boat search soon followed.
Emergency 911 was called and the Vergas Rescue Squad responded to the scene shortly after 5 p.m.
The Otter Tail Sheriff’s Office reported that Reardon’s body was found about 20 minutes after he disappeared, at the bottom of the lake.