BWCA search: Man rescued by helicopter after signaling MN State Patrol plane

A 69-year-old man was rescued late Thursday night after he got separated from his group during a trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) earlier that morning, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office. 

Authorities were notified around 3:46 p.m. when dispatch reportedly got a call from a woman who said her husband, along with three other men, were in the BWCA and the group had sent out an SOS signal. The woman reported she got a call from Focus Point International saying a locator in that group had sent them the SOS. 

The sheriff's office said the locator coordinates put the group on Malberg Lake but there was no information on what kind of emergency they were facing because the locator cannot send messages. 

A beaver plane from the U.S. Forest Service was then requested to assist the Lake County Sheriff's Office in reaching the group.

Authorities say they reached the group, which was on a canoe trip, at about 5:47 p.m. and were told that one of the men in their party had left around 11:30 a.m. but had not returned after "he went for a walk." 

The sheriff's office said it began to organize a search and rescue party that would go out Friday morning. 

However, an airplane from the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) was requested and found the missing man, who was "some distance away from the location of the group" and was "actively trying to communicate with the aircraft," according to the sheriff's office.

Authorities then worked through MSP to activate the Minnesota Aviation Rescue Team (MART) to rescue the man. The man was rescued via helicopter just after 11:40 p.m. and was taken to Ely airport.

The sheriff's office said the man was not injured and had gotten lost during the walk. 


Survivor of BWCA canoe accident recounts deadly ordeal

Erik Grams says he and his brother Reis had been going to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) for more than 30 years.