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UPDATE: Two boys drown in Willmar's Foot Lake

West Central Tribune
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
By Linda Vanderwerf

Idris Hussein and Ahmed Hashi.

WILLMAR -- Two Somali-American boys drowned in the waters of Willmar’s Foot Lake Tuesday.

Their bodies were found by a water search team at about 10 p.m. in shallow water near the entrance to the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds.

The search for the two boys ended about four hours after their families reported them missing.

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They were identified as Idris Hussein, 10, and Ahmed Hashi, 11.

The boys were students at Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar, according to Principal Kristin Dresler, who came to Rice Memorial Hospital late Tuesday.

More than 60 members of Willmar’s Somali community also gathered in the Rice Memorial Hospital Emergency Department parking lot.

The boys had been last seen on the dock by the entrance to the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds, according to Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt.

Willmar police officers and members of other agencies began searching for the boys in the neighborhood and in the water after they were reported missing late Tuesday afternoon.

A pair of shoes had been found in the water by the dock. Felt said he was told the water was about 5 feet deep off the end of the dock.

A message from the Police Department asked residents in northwest Willmar to look on their property for the boys.

Felt said the hope was that the boys had hidden if they became frightened by the first responders in the area. The families called relatives and friends to help with the search.

When the boys weren’t found, law enforcement “started searching the water more intensely,” Felt said.

According to a news release from the police department, a water search was conducted by sheriff and rescue personnel using sonar, rescue suits and drag lines.

Specially trained search dogs were also summoned from the Central Lakes Search & Rescue Team.

Felt said emergency personnel performed CPR on the boys, and he watched Rice Hospital emergency medical staff do their work heroically to try to revive them.

After extensive efforts, both boys were pronounced dead at Rice Hospital, according to Felt.

Felt said there was no reason to suspect foul play in the incident.

Agencies involved in the search included the Willmar Police Department, Willmar Ambulance, the Kandiyohi County Rescue Squad and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office.

West Central Tribune staff writer Gretchen Brown contributed to this report.

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