Voyageurs National Park rangers had to rescue several boaters from Rainy Lake yesterday after high winds capsized their vessels.
Chief park ranger James Hummel said three boats had departed their campsites in the park east of the Brule Narrows on Rainy Lake yesterday morning.
Hummel said they chose to depart at a time when winds were gusting up to 64 km/h (40 m.p.h.)
As soon as they left the protection of the Brule Narrows and got into the open water, one of the boats capsized, dumping the occupants into the lake.
Those in the other boats tried to help them—and they also capsized.
“We had up to 10 people in the water ranging from age nine to 70,” noted Hummel.
VNP rangers responded in two vessels, with support from Rainy Lake Houseboats, and were able to bring the boaters safely to shore.
During the rescue, another boat was reported missing and unaccounted for.
After a search, that vessel already had helped pick up some of the people in the water and headed west.
The 70-year-old was severely hypothermic and had to be stabilized before being sent to hospital.
The whole incident lasted from about 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
“The bottom line is all were rescued and didn’t suffer any long-term problems, and I suspect it was a very teachable moment for avoiding ‘get-home-itis,’” said Hummel.
He added travellers are eager to get home on a Sunday, but most sat tight yesterday because of the windy conditions.
Brule Narrows is located abut 16 km (10 miles) east of the western boundary of Voyageurs National Park, and is near MacKenzie Island on the Canadian side of the lake.