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9 Feared Dead in Minn. Boat Crash

July 5, 1999

BAYPORT, Minn. (AP) _ Up to nine people are feared dead after a weekend collision between two speedboats on the St. Croix River, authorities say.

Divers pulled a third body from the murky waters on Sunday evening after two pieces of boat debris found on the river bottom helped searchers locate the crash site. Two other bodies were recovered from the river on Saturday.

It remains unclear how many people were aboard the two pleasure boats, but officials said up to six people remain missing.

``The percentages aren’t very good that someone survived,″ said Washington County Sheriff Jim Frank.

Divers were to resume their search again today.

Both boats apparently were traveling in the same direction toward Hudson, Wis., when they collided shortly after 1 a.m. on Saturday. The boats reportedly had left an access area near P.D. Pappy’s, a popular bar and restaurant in Stillwater, before colliding a few miles downriver.

The victims identified were Michael Jon Flamang, 31, and Steven Langer, 30, both of Apple Valley, Wis.; and Scott DeVille, 33, of Dresser, Wis.

Flamang and Langer were riding in the smaller boat, while DeVille is believed to have been piloting the other craft, authorities said.

The larger of the two crafts, worth between $80,000 and $100,000, was so new it wasn’t registered, authorities said.

The Fourth of July is one of the busiest boating days of the year on the St. Croix, which runs along Minnesota’s border with Wisconsin.

A National Transportation Safety Board team was assisting the investigation.

It’s like ``swimming in chocolate pudding,″ said Steve Porter, a volunteer diver. ``We’re doing everything by feel.″

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