NEW INFORMATION: Tainter Lake boat owner found safe

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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Dunn County Sheriff's Department says a Boyceville man has positively identified the capsized boat on Tainter Lake as his own.

Deputies say while the air search was taking place, they had continued the investigation on land trying to locate people that may have been in the boat at the time it capsized.

They learned that a 38-year-old man named Jacob Wyss of rural Boyceville may own a boat matching the description of the boat located in the water.

Deputies also learned that he may be staying in the area where the boat was located and that he could match the physical description of the person seen fishing the evening of July 3.

On Monday afternoon deputies tried to make contact with Jacob Wyss to verify that information. He was not found at home near the lake initially, but a message was left. Eventually Wyss contacted the sheriff’s office and after he was provided some photos of the boat, he felt the boat was his.

Wyss however said he had not left it capsized in the lake and claimed to not know how it ended up there.

Wyss did agree to meet with a Dunn County Sheriff’s Deputy so that he could positively identify the boat.

Wyss met with a Dunn County Sheriff’s Deputy and identified the boat as his on Monday night. He admitted talking to the complainants at the time he was reported seen in the boat. He stated that he quit fishing about 10 minutes later and returned to his part-time residence. He tied the boat up and does not know how it got back to the location where it was located.

Since Wyss claims that he didn't tip the boat over, the sheriff's office says periodic searches will happen during the next several days.

“The fire department came rushing out there, so a lot of effort went into that initial call, they did a good job of searching, a real thorough searching of the area in trying to find someone that was still somebody we could rescue,” Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith said.

Crews from the Dunn County Sheriff's Department, Menomonie Fire Department, the Department of Natural Resources, and Bruce's Legacy, a volunteer dive team from Black River Falls came to Tainter Lake last week when a boat was found capsized, with no owner to claim it.

With no one found or reported missing, and the owner, Jacob Wyss finally identified and safe, Smith said it was a costly effort.

“You're talking somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000 worth of labor expense, plus the fuel and the reimbursement for cost of the volunteers, just gets to be a lot of money and work where we could actually be doing other things,” Smith said.

Wyss claimed he tied his boat down and didn't know it had flipped, according to the sheriff’s department.

“We find it difficult to believe that because there was less than two hours in between from the time he was seen and the time the boat was found upside down.”

Smith said required registration could have prevented the situation.

“If it had been registered, we could have got the name and know the owner, we could have tracked him down in the first day and it would have been done with … but with no registration it's something we'll turn over to the DNR to handle.”

“If (Wyss) didn't tip it over, it wouldn't be his responsibility, even if he did tip it over and just failed to call in, we have to take care of business. Part of our job is protecting people and try to rescue people from harm's way and part of the statutory requirement for the sheriff is that they recover bodies for drowning victims so we basically are going to have to eat the cost of that, the tax payers will.”
Smith said Wyss is on probation and is not allowed to drink alcohol.

TOWN OF TAINTER, Wis. (WEAU) -- Another day of searching and still no answers for people living on a lake in Dunn County. It’s been three days since an overturned boat was found along with fishing equipment on Tainter Lake, north of Menomonie.

Sunday search crews from the DNR, The Dunn County Sheriff's Department and a volunteer search group from Black River Falls were out combing the northern part of Tainter Lake for the person that could have been in that boat when it capsized.

“Dragging the bottom we found a trolling motor, a battery, a fishing tackle box and fishing poles and we know that's the area where the boat tipped over we just don't know where the person went,” Dunn Co. Sheriff Dennis Smith said.

Sheriff Smith says while they don't know for sure whether or not a person went down with the boat, eye witness reports and belongings found near the capsized boat still have them searching the lake.

“Everyone has family of some sort and we don't want to have a family find out that this is what happened to their loved one and no one helped out or no one cared. We have an obligation to get the body out of the water,” Smith added.

Smith says the search will continue Monday morning on Tainter Lake. If you have any information regarding the boat or its occupant, call the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department at (715) 232-1348.

TOWN OF TAINTER, Wis. (WEAU) -- Crews have had no luck finding the body of a boater who may be missing in Dunn County.

On Saturday, rescue and recovery crews with the Dunn County Sheriff's Department were out again looking for a possible boater who was first reported missing around 11:00 Thursday night on Tainter Lake near Menomonie.

A caller told deputies he saw a man in his 30's fishing there earlier, but when deputies arrived they found a boat overturned along with fishing equipment.

It's a light green, Triton brand, 12-ft jon boat. The boat has no hull number or registration.

Crews have been searching since Thursday night, continued on the 4th of July and Saturday morning until the afternoon. Sheriff Dennis Smith said the waters were choppy, making the search difficult.

Smith said he hasn't received a missing persons report yet and there is a chance the boater could've swam about 20 yards to shore. There was no vehicle nearby when they did a search of the area.

If you recognize the boat or have any information, you're asked to call the Dunn County Sheriff's Department at (715) 232-1348.

Rescue and recovery efforts will continue Sunday morning with a crew from Black River Falls and their sonar equipment.


Date of Release: 07/04/2014
Incident #: 14-6534
Subject: Boating Accident / Missing Person


On July 3, 2014 at 10:56 PM the Dunn County Communications Center received a 911 call reporting an overturned boat found on Tainter Lake north of County Road D in Tainter Township. The person making the report had seen a white male approximately 30 years old fishing from the boat around 8:30 PM near where the overturned boat was found.

Dunn County Deputies, Menomonie Fire Department and the Wisconsin DNR responded to the location and after an extensive search were unable to locate anyone who may have been operating the boat when it overturned.

Officers have been unable to identify any persons missing or not returning home from fishing on Tainter lake after going door to door in the area and after checking the boat landings.

It is suspected that the person operating the boat may reside somewhere in the vicinity on Tainter Lake as the boat was a small 12 foot jon boat powered with an electric trolling motor.

The boat is a light green, Triton brand, 12 foot jon boat. The boat had no hull number or registration.

The search for the operator of the boat will resume Friday morning July 4, 2014.

If anyone would have any information regarding the identity of the operator of the above boat or

any information regarding this incident please contact the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office at 715-232-1348.

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