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Boy scouts rescued after near fatal accident in BWCA

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Paul Walsh, journalist for the Minneapolis, Minnesota Star Tribune reported on June 13, 2014 “Boy Scout party from Ohio rescued in BWCA after storm overwhelms canoes.” According to Mr. Walsh, “Two canoes with a Boy Scout party from Ohio were overwhelmed on a windswept and misty lake of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), prompting an air and sea rescue operation that declared its mission accomplished just as sunset was drawing near.”

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The Scouts, ages 15 to 17, and their two leaders were from a troop based in the Cincinnati suburb of West Chester, Ohio according to Mr. Walsh.

News reporter, Richard Chin of the St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press stated that the rescue was a joint effort. “The rescue was the result of a partnership between the St. Paul Fire Department and the Minnesota State Patrol called the Minnesota Air Rescue Team. The team was formed a few years ago to put together the firefighters' technical rope rescue expertise with State Patrol helicopters and the pilots. The team, based in St. Paul, can respond to emergencies statewide.”

Furthermore, added Mr. Chin “Rescue help was needed about 4 p.m. Thursday when three adults and five children in two canoes had capsized in rough water on Basswood Lake near the Canadian border. A State Patrol Bell 407 helicopter headed north from the St. Paul Downtown Airport with three St. Paul firefighters aboard.”

Paul Walsh of the Star Tribune described the incident in the following statement, “The drama unfolded Thursday evening north of Ely, Minnesota, near Basswood Lake, within shouting distance of the Canadian border. The incident involved five Scouts, two Scout leaders and a locally based Scout guide who were soggy but relieved to be alive and shaking off mild hypothermia, following their rescue”

Justin Mayne, a captain with the Lake County Rescue Squad, emphasized the fact that all eight who were in the water at some point had on life jackets, and “without those, we probably would’ve had a very different outcome.”

Captain Alan Gabriele of the St. Paul Fire Department, stated, “The mission went very well and exactly like we trained.”

Capt. Gabriele coordinated the rescue while aboard the helicopter. He is part of the St. Paul-based Minnesota Air Rescue Team (MART), which since 2012 has now pulled off four airborne rescues around the state. “They were happy to see us,” according to Gabriele.

“Everyone was accounted for and safe 7 p.m.,” according to State Patrol Lieutenant Matt Nelson.” Lieutenant Nelson is Director (MART). Soon after the rescue, they were checked out at Ely- Bloomenson Community Hospital.

In addition to the State Patrol helicopter and the Forest Service floatplane, five boats from the Minnesota Department Natural Resources, the Forest Service, Lake County and St. Louis County were involved in the rescue, according to Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson

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