Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

4 family members killed in kayak accident on Lake Superior


ASHLAND - Three children and their father died when their kayak capsized near an island in Lake Superior, authoritie­s said Friday.

The children’s mother was the only survivor, the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office said.

The two girls and one boy ranged in age from 3 to 9. The family has not been identified because relatives are still being notified.

Rescue crews responded to Michigan Island after receiving a call around 8:30 p.m. Thursday from a woman who said her sister sent her alarming text messages that read “911” and “Michigan Island,” the sheriff ’s office said. The mother told rescuers everyone was wearing life jackets and the family became separated when the kayak capsized.

The family set off from Madeline Island about 3 p.m., according to the U.S. Coast Guard, one of several agencies involved in the search and rescue operation.

The mother sent her first text message asking for help about an hour later as the family was floating in the bay, but there was no cellphone service, the Coast Guard said.

“It wasn’t until later in the evening when she had drifted into a service area that the text message finally went through,” said Alan Haraf, a master chief with the Coast Guard.

The sheriff’s office said rescuers found the mother around 10 p.m. The father and two of the children were found dead just after midnight, the sheriff said, and rescue crews located the third child Friday morning.

Authoritie­s have not said how or why the kayak capsized.

Chief Petty Officer Nicholas Sawyer, who commands a Coast Guard station near the islands, said he didn’t know what the weather conditions were at the time.

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