Sunday night a powerful storm moved through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Heavy rain, wind gusts over 40 miles per hour and lightning strikes pummeled our area of the BWCA accessed from the Gunflint Trail for over an hour. Branches and trees toppled over and unfortunately this left one man dead, a boy severely injured and another person suffered injuries as well.
We heard the news this morning at breakfast. A couple of our crew were at Hungry Jack Lodge last night where search and rescue team members were present. The news of a death and injury traveled fast especially since one of our crew members and her mom were camping on nearby Rose Lake. We were all very concerned until we discovered it was a man who had been killed on Duncan Lake and a younger boy, possibly his son had been severely injured, potentially two broken legs and a broken pelvis.
When our crew member and her mom returned to Voyageur they informed us they had actually camped on Duncan Lake. During the raging storm they heard someone screaming for help but knew they would be of no help if they were to attempt to paddle in the wind, waves and lightning. A helpless feeling but better than creating another emergency situation where rescuers would be needed.
The boy was rescued from the campsite and taken by ambulance to Cook County Hospital and then transported by helicopter to Duluth. According to an online article the boy was in critical condition as of 3pm on Monday. There was another man and boy at the campsite who were not injured. According to another article, the man who died was 43 year-old Craig Walz, a teacher from Rochester, Minnesota.
Another man was injured while camping on Clove Lake on the Granite River. A tree struck him as well and search and rescue paddled and portaged in to help transport him out of the Boundary Waters.
What a scary experience for everyone involved. We’re thankful more people weren’t injured including those involved in the search and rescue. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all.