A family of five was tubing on Prairie Lake on Tuesday morning, July 7, when the three people in the boat ended up in the water after hitting waves. The family was picked up by passersby while the boat, now out of control, drove in right-hand circles. The boat was eventually stopped by the sheriff’s department and driven back to shore.

A family outing, tubing on Prairie Lake, ended up with the father, mother and kids aged 2, 8 and 13 in the water and their motorboat out of control late Tuesday morning, July 7.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said the incident was reported to 911 just after 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Fitzgerald said the five family members were tubing. The father was driving the tiller-controlled boat with two kids also in the boat and the mother and a third child were tubing behind the boat.

“The boat struck a series of waves which caused the dad and one kid to be thrown overboard,” Fitzgerald said. The child in the boat also jumped overboard because “he was scared.”

One of the children was struck by the boat, but was not injured, the sheriff said. Passersby on boats picked up the family. The boat, now empty, continued to make right-hand circles in the water.

Fitzgerald and recreation deputy Jeff Wolfe arrived on scene in the sheriff’s department boat and used a rope to jam the loose boat’s propeller. “Deputy Wolfe then gained control of the boat and brought it to shore,” Fitzgerald said. “Everyone is extremely lucky and [this is] just the reason why everyone needs to have a life jacket on.”

All refused medical attention and a deputy transported at least three of the family members to their place of residence.

Responding agencies included the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, Chetek Fire Department, Chetek Ambulance Service and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

No enforcement action would be taken, Fitzgerald said.

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