A team of eight will go into the BWCAW on Thursday to set up a temporary camp in an attempt to recover the body of Ty Sitter from Swan Lake. Sitter was reported missing on June 10 while fishing. His empty canoe and gear were found by his father and brother the night before. A search was subsequently mounted, cadaver dogs brought in and an inflatable “Zodiac” was dropped from a helicopter.
According to Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk, side scan sonar and underwater cameras from St. Louis County Search and Rescue were used to locate what he believes to be Sitter’s body in 90 to 100 feet of water.
Recovery efforts have been hampered by windy weather as well as the limited availability of St. Louis County personnel. Falk said on Thursday morning a rescue team of eight will bring in recovery equipment and set up camp for what he hopes will not exceed three days. Falk said this should save the daily effort of transporting equipment in and out as well as allow for more time on the water.
The “Zodiac” stabilized on either side by attached canoes, carries three people to operate sonar, cameras, and steering. On Tuesday white caps kicked up, and location and recovery operations had to be suspended. Falk said normally a large pontoon boat would be used, however they are too heavy for a float plane to carry, and available helicopters are also not equipped to handle the load.
The recovery team is expected to include Forest Service wilderness rangers as well as Sheriff’s deputies and the county’s Emergency Management Director Jim Wiinanen.