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Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Local

Air rescue brings injured woman out of BWCA

A Beaver floatplane was dispatched to Ross Lake, deep in the interior of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, to rescue an injured canoeist July 14. Ross Lake is about 10 miles west of Poplar Lake near Banadad Lake.

The call for help came in to the Cook County sheriff’s office at 2:15 p.m. asking for help getting a person with a possible broken ankle out of the BWCA. The woman was part of a group of three on a five-day BWCA trip. The party calling said the woman in her 30s could not walk.

Gunflint Trail responders were paged and headed to the nearest fire hall to map out the best route to take to get to the lake; however, they stood down as the U.S. Forest Service was notified.

The U.S. Forest Service dispatch said a wilderness crew was in the BWCA, but not in the area. The Forest Service dispatch requested authorization to respond with a plane. Permission for air extraction of the woman was given at 2:40 p.m. The pilot requested an EMT from Cook County, and a medic from North Shore Health was picked up at Devil Track Lake at 3:57 p.m.

Gunflint Fire Department and Cook County Search and Rescue provided ground support, assisting the pilot in locating the injured woman.

The patient was located, her leg splinted and the plane was back at Devil Track Lake by 5:40 p.m. The patient was transported to North Shore Health.

The other two members of the camping party paddled out with their gear.