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Grayslake couple rescued from Fox River

Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:21 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 11:02 p.m. CDT
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(H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)
A pontoon boat lost power fairly close to the Algonquin dam, according to preliminary scanner reports. The boater is holding to the bridge to keep from going over the dam.

ALGONQUIN – A Grayslake couple had to be rescued from the Fox River Wednesday after their stalled pontoon boat came dangerously close to drifting over the Algonquin Dam.

Grace and Steve Leseth were approaching Port Edward Restaurant in their boat for lunch when the engine stalled, Steve Leseth said. The boat was quickly approaching the dam, so the two held onto the Algonquin Road bridge to keep the boat from going over.

"It was very surreal," Grace Leseth said. "It was just like a horror movie because we had just seconds to react."

A Port Edward employee called authorities, who responded to the scene at 12:17 p.m. The pontoon boat had lodged under the bridge by the time police arrived, according to a news release from the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District.

A rope had wrapped around the propeller and caused the engine to die, Battalion Chief John Knebl said. Crews in a rescue boat pulled the couple and their dog to safety.

During the transfer to the boat, Grace Leseth fell partially into the river, Knebl said. The rescue boat had taken on ankle-high water but not enough to cause authorities concern.

Grace Leseth said she was holding her dog during the fall.

Traffic was reduced to one lane on Algonquin Road while crews worked.

The pontoon boat has since been removed by an outside company that specializes in boat recovery, Knebl said.

–Emily Coleman and Shawn Shinneman

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