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8 Rescued from BWCAW after Water Search, Treated and Released from Hospital

Updated: 06/12/2014 11:57 PM
Created: 06/12/2014 4:46 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage & Zach Hammer

All eight members of the missing canoe party in the Boundary Waters north of Ely were treated and released from Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital Thursday night.

Justin Mayne, of the Lake County Rescue Squad, tells Eyewitness News that the five kids and three adults are in good condition, but some were being monitored for slight hypothermia. 

Mayne says the original call alerting authorities of the missing party came in around 4:20 p.m. Thursday. The Lake County Sheriff's Office says the party was in two separate canoes on Basswood Lake when they capsized.

A deputy and two commanding officers responded immediately, followed by St. Louis and Lake County Rescue Squads, Lake County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota DNR, and the Minnesota State Patrol.

30 minutes into the search, rescue teams located three of the missing canoeists near Canadian Point, about an hour and a half away from the rescue crews' staging area at LaTourell's Resort on Moose Lake. 

Those three were found in good condition, but without canoes. 

Almost a half hour later, Mayne says the rescue squads spotted the remaining five canoeists just north of Washington Island. 

Three of these five people were airlifted by seaplane while two others in better condition were transported by boat back to LaTourell's.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office says, in total, six of the eight people rescued required to be flown out of the Boundary Waters and taken to the hospital.

The last two victims reached shore around 9 p.m. and were transported by ambulance to the hospital. 

Swampy, windy, and rainy conditions made the rescue a difficult task. 

"Today's kind of a mean weather day," Mayne said. "Days like this is kind of when you don't want to go out on the big water. These lakes are pretty big up here. When you're on shore and in the bays it seems pretty calm, but once you get out to the big water, it gets real rough, and that's when accidents happen."

The National Weather Service reported sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph at Ely Thursday afternoon, with gusts as high as 37 mph.

Mayne says crews do not have any background information about the canoers, but a nurse at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital says the canoeists were treated and released Thursday night.

 All eight were wearing their life jackets, according to Mayne, and says that can be credited for this happy ending. 

Ambulance on the scene at LaTourell's Resort

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