Swimming Accident
4:50 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

UPDATE: Star Lake Woman Dies After Rescuing Kids From Drowning

A Star Lake woman has died, after helping rescue a group of kids from drowning. 

47-year-old Karen Wessel was walking Tuesday with two other women and four children…along Trampers Trail of East Star Lake. 

According to one of the surviving women, the group stopped for a swim and three of the kids began to swim across a channel that runs between the shoreline and a sandbar further out in the lake. 

One of the adults told them to turn back, and they did but became too tired to make it across.  The three women went into the water to help, and successfully rescued two of the children.  When Karen Wessel went back for the third child, an 8-year-old boy, she used herself to push him above the surface.  But she went under herself. 

A pontoon boat then arrived to help the two victims.  The boat operator gave CPR to Wessel, while the 8-year-old hung on to the edge of the pontoon boat. 

Another motor boat arrived and helped transport the two victims back to shore.  Wessel was unresponsive but continued to receive CPR while she was transported by ambulance and helicopter to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau.  There she was pronounced deceased. 

The Vilas County Coroner is investigating the official cause of death. 

The 8-year-old boy was taken to Howard Young Medical Center for overnight observation, but is reported to have been awake and alert after being rescued.  

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