Duluth Girl Recovering from Apparent Muskie Encounter

Renee Passal
July 20, 2017 07:24 PM

A little girl from Duluth had a close encounter with a big fish.

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Ten-year-old Maren Kesselhon had been out enjoying Island Lake with her family on Wednesday, which is something they've been doing all summer. She and her sisters had been taking turns being pulled on a paddle board, behind the family boat.

As they prepared to go in for the day, Maren was taking a final ride. She jumped off into the water to cool off. That's when she got bit - and hard.

"I just jumped off because it was hot, and five seconds later I could feel the whooshing, and I could feel my foot in its mouth. I kicked it, because it was...instinct," Maren told Eyewitness News.

She screamed to her dad, who pulled her into the boat. "It really hurt, and it was really scary."

They were able to get some gauze from another boat nearby. Then it was time to hightail to the hospital.

Maren's family rushed her to St. Luke's, where doctors stitched up her nine separate gashes. There had been some speculation on social media this could have been from an otter, but doctors and the family now say they believe it was likely a muskie. 

She's resting at home, and is hobbling around with some crutches. Which she likes, "It's like flying!"

And she's made a new friend because they share a strange connection. 

Leah Prudhomme, who was attacked by an otter on Island Lake five years ago, heard about Maren from Maren's mother, Lora.

Now they have connected on Facebook.

Prudhomme is a triathlete from Anoka. She told Eyewitness News she plans on visiting Maren, to help encourage her.

"I was able to compete at an even higher level post-attack," she explained.

As for any more swimming in Island Lake, well, Maren says it's going to be awhile. "I'm going to give it a few months. Let them fish out a few more big ones, and then I'll still be really careful."

Her mother said the whole family is likely going to take a break from swimming for awhile.

We wish you a speedy recovery, Maren, so you can go back to enjoying gymnastics this fall!


Renee Passal

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