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Otter Tail County authorities investigating death of man found unconscious on lake

BATTLE LAKE, Minn. — Authorities are investigating if a man's death here was accidental or medical-related after he was found unconscious over the weekend on West Battle Lake with his paraskiing gear and later died.

Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Bob Huckeby said a passerby on the lake called dispatch at 12:22 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15. When officers arrived, they found an unconscious 64-year-old man later identified as Dennis Stanford lying on the ice near an orange parachute.

Stanford was airlifted to a hospital in St. Cloud, Minn., but Huckeby said he died on the way to the hospital.

"We never found any witnesses that saw anything that happened," Huckeby said, adding it's unknown at this time if the death was accidental or possibly caused by a medical issue.

Huckeby said Stanford has a lot of ties to the Perham, Minn., area and was "well-known in the local community," though Stanford's driver's license lists a Michigan address.

An obituary for Stanford printed by the Perham Focus newspaper said he is survived by his wife, Mary Therese. Stanford is remembered for his "adventurous spirit," according to his obituary, and a memorial service will be set at a future date.

The incident remains under investigation.