18-year-old canoeist missing on Gillis Lake in BWCA after canoe overturned
WTIP file photo

18-year-old canoeist missing on Gillis Lake in BWCA after canoe overturned

Updated on June 26 

Updated: The body of the missing 18-year-old was recovered on June 23.

A capsized canoe on Gillis Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) resulted in a missing 18-year-old male late on the evening of Wednesday, June 21. Gillis Lake is located approximately 4 miles west of Round Lake and Tuscarora Lodge & Canoe Outfitters in Cook County.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office 911 dispatch received a call at 6:44 p.m., Wednesday evening, reporting that fishermen on Gillis Lake had overturned their canoe and one of the canoeists never resurfaced. 

One of the individuals swam to shore, and one, an 18-year-old male not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), was reported missing. 

Cook County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Cook County Search & Rescue, Gunflint Fire Department, United States Forest Service (USFS) law enforcement, and a Forest Service Beaver float plane responded to the staging area at Tuscarora Lodge to begin search and rescue operations.

The missing 18-year-old canoeist was suspected to be deceased. 

“Our hearts are with the survivors and the deceased’s family,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “I also commend all of our emergency services who responded to this incident with swift action and professionalism.”

Identity is being withheld pending notification of family. No further information is available at this time. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.