Woman rescued from BWCA after getting lost, wandering for miles through dense forest
A Minnesota woman is safe after spending a rainy September night lost in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near the Gunflint Trail.
56-year-old Jennifer Fitzer, a resident of Golden Valley, Minn., became lost Thursday, Sept. 8 from her group’s campsite on Rib Lake in the BWCA. This was Fitzer’s first trip to the Boundary Waters, according to her brother, Chuck Fitzer. Chuck spoke with WTIP Sept. 12 about the incident.
After being contacted by Chuck Fitzer from the campsite on Rib Lake, Cook County Search and Rescue were deployed in the late afternoon Sept. 8 and traveled to the campsite. Chuck Fitzer and another member of the group of five were able to use their cellphones to call 911, alerting the authorities of the situation.
According to a law enforcement report from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department and information shared with WTIP by her brother, Jennifer Fitzer became lost while exploring near the Rib Lake campsite in the early afternoon Sept. 8. After becoming lost, she walked north for several miles through thick forest and various swamps. She eventually made it to Dawkins Lake, which is located south of Extortion Lake and just west of the Banadad Ski Trail. After arriving to Dawkins Lake, Jennifer Fitzer found a large floating log and essentially rode it along the shoreline of the lake, thinking she was still on Rib Lake, Chuck Fitzer said. She spent the night in the woods wearing only a t-shirt and thin outdoor-style pants. She did not have food and ran out of water during the night, Chuck Fitzer said.
While ground crews searched on foot and canoe, a beaver float plane rescued Jennifer Fitzer from Dawkins Lake Friday morning Sept. 9.
After being found by the plane and search and rescue, Jennifer Fitzer was flown to Gunflint Lodge for a medical examination that was performed by local authorities and first responders. Though dehydrated and hungry, she was in good spirits and good health overall, Chuck Fitzer told WTIP.
WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Jennifer Fizter Sept. 19 about the experience in the BWCA. Audio below.