Updated: 06/13/2014 9:37 PM
Created: 06/13/2014 6:37 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
The Minnesota State Patrol released new details and video Friday explaining its role in the rescue of eight missing canoers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Thursday night.
At a press conference in St. Paul Friday afternoon, State Patrol Pilot Dan Willar said three St. Paul firefighters flew to Ely soon after learning of the missing canoers.
Lake County Rescue Squad member Justin Mayne said three canoers were rescued on Canadian Point about a half hour into the search. Soon after, crews spotted two other canoers nearby but were unable to reach them due to swampy and rocky conditions.
The State Patrol helicopter spotted the same canoers thanks to a strobe light they were shining between the trees. Because the stranded canoers were unreachable by boat or sea plane, the helicopter dropped fire fighters into the wooded area on a 100-foot rope to harness the two canoers and bring them to the sea plane-a mission that Willar said took about 25 minutes.
"The mission went very well and just exactly like we trained," misson crew chief Alan Gabriele said.
All eight canoers were transported to the Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital Thursday night, and nurses confirmed they were all treated and released early this morning.
Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said he still does not know much background information about the canoers other than that they were a part of a scout group touring with the Northern Tier Boy Scout Camp in Ely.
Mayne said watching the weather is step one in avoiding danger when out on the water.
“These lakes are pretty big up here,” Mayne said. “When you're on shore and in the bays, it seems pretty calm, but when you get out on the big water, it gets pretty rough and that's where accidents happen."
To watch raw video of the rescue, click here.
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