Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time can save a life.

Tammy and Bob Fischer, of Pequot Lakes, were out on a simple pontoon ride on Sibley Lake on Saturday, June 26, when they came across something unexpected.

“We came around a corner and we saw a small fishing boat with two small kayaks behind it, and they had capsized,” Tammy said. “We first saw two people in the water, but we couldn't tell if they were swimming or what they were doing at first. Then we realized that they capsized and they didn't have life jackets on, and I don't think one of the people could swim.”


"If we had not been coming around that corner at that exact minute, I'm guessing the one guy (who could not swim) probably would have died."

— Tammy Fischer, Pequot Lakes


The Fischers - both teachers at Pequot Lakes Middle School - eventually spotted five boaters in the water. The Fischers called out to them to see if they needed help, to which the boaters said, “Help, now.”

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Bob did not hesitate to jump in the water to help. Tammy grabbed all the life jackets she could find and threw them into the water. Eventually all of them were on the Fischers’ pontoon.


"My husband just reacted super quickly. I kind of was standing there going, ‘What can I do? What can I do?’ and he just instantly jumped in and yelled at me to throw the life jackets."

— Tammy Fischer, Pequot Lakes


“It just happened so quickly,” Tammy said. “My husband just reacted super quickly. I kind of was standing there going, ‘What can I do? What can I do?’ and he just instantly jumped in and yelled at me to throw the life jackets.

“When one of the guys got out of the water, he gave my husband a huge bear hug and just squeezed him so tight. I think he was in shock," she said.

Reflecting on the incident a few days later, the Fischers keep coming back to the same word: “Lucky.”


"We came around a corner and we saw a small fishing boat with two small kayaks behind it, and they had capsized. We first saw two people in the water, but we couldn't tell if they were swimming or what they were doing at first. Then we realized that they capsized and they didn't have life jackets on, and I don't think one of the people could swim."

— Tammy Fischer, Pequot Lakes


Lucky that they arrived at that spot - a seemingly arbitrary location on the lake - when they did. Lucky for those boaters that Bob reacted the way he did. Lucky for Bob that he is safe as well. Everyone is lucky to still be enjoying this summer.

“If we had not been coming around that corner at that exact minute, I'm guessing the one guy (who could not swim) probably would have died,” Tammy said. “We were sitting in church the next morning thinking about how lucky we were. Everyone was. It could have turned fatal - for my husband too, because he jumped in to save them. We were thinking about just the blessings of everyone and everything and how lucky we were to be coming around that corner at that time.”

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.