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Boreal Community Media

Lake County Search & Rescue Squad assist with two Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness rescues last week

Jun 10, 2024 12:30PM ● By Content Editor

Photo: Scott Rodgerson

By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media - June 10, 2024

The Lake County Search and Rescue Squad assisted with two rescues in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) last week. These incidents follow a large search and recovery operation for two missing canoeists near Curtain Falls in the BWCAW, which concluded on June 3. 

On June 4 around 3:30 pm, Lake County Dispatch received a call reporting a Boy Scout group had overturned a canoe on Basswood Lake. Five individuals (four juveniles and one adult) had made it to a nearby island, while another group of four juveniles and one adult were on the mainland. 

According to a Lake County press release, "Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified Lake County Dispatch that they also had been contacted by the campers and advised them that rescue plans were in the works, and the group was advised to stay put."

OPP was on standby, while Lake County Rescue units were dispatched, with the US Forest Service assisting. An approaching storm front paused rescue operations until the next morning. However, two hours after the initial call to Lake County Dispatch, OPP was alerted by the party via a Garmin unit who said that they had been rescued and no longer needed assistance from search and rescue crews. 

In a separate incident on June 6 around 3:30 pm, Lake County Dispatch received a call from the wife of someone who was with a group in the BWCAW. According to a Lake County press release, the woman
 "Indicated that she received a call from Focus Point International stating that they had received an SOS from a locator from that group. Coordinates from the locator placed the group on Malberg Lake within the BWCA, but there was no information available as to the type of emergency that may be occurring due to the locator not having messaging capability. "

Due to the limited information received, the US Forest Service was contacted and asked to fly in with police and medical personnel to check on the group. Approximately two hours later, contact was made with the group who notified search and rescue crews that an individual had gone missing around 11:30 am that morning after going for a walk. Due to the location and time of day, the Lake County Search and Rescue Squad would dispatch the next morning. 

In addition, the Minnesota State Patrol was asked to assist with the use of its fixed-wing aircraft, which was able to locate the missing person who was "some distance away from the location of the group." Once the missing person was located, the Minnesota Aviation Rescue Team (MART) was dispatched through the Minnesota State Patrol to rescue the missing person around 11:42 pm. The person was transported via helicopter to the Ely airport. 

No injuries were reported in either incident.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here