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Illinois woman dies rescuing boy in Wisconsin lake

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 7:10 a.m. CDT

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Friends and family are mourning the death of an Illinois woman who drowned while rescuing a 9-year-old boy in a Wisconsin lake.

The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1rCMLDF ) 47-year-old Karen Wessel of Arlington Heights died Tuesday. The Vilas County Sheriff's Department says she went under the water in Star Lake in Wisconsin after helping a boy who was struggling. She pushed him to the surface and nearby boaters pulled him from the lake.

Authorities say Wessel was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin, where she was pronounced dead.

Wessel's sister, Janice Potocki, also swam out to save the boy and two other children who were all having trouble in the water. She calls her sister "a hero" and says she saved the boy's life.

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