Father, 3 Children Found Dead after Kayak Capsizes in Lake Superior's Apostle Islands

August 31, 2018 06:40 PM

A father and three children have been found dead after authorities say the family's kayak capsized in the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior Thursday.

A release from the Ashland County Sheriff's Office reports the bodies of the father and two of the children were recovered after midnight Friday morning. The body of the third child was found around 10 a.m.

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The sheriff's office said the children were ages 9, 6 and 3.

The family's mother was found alive in the water on the west side of Michigan Island after 10 p.m. Thursday.

The release said the sheriff's department received a call around 8:29 p.m. Thursday from a woman reporting her sister was vacationing on Madeline Island with her husband and three children. She had sent her sister alarming text messages reading "911" and "Michigan Island." 

An investigation by authorities determined the family had left Madeline Island in a kayak earlier in the day, intending to tour the Apostle Islands.

The U.S. Coast Guard, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bayfield Fire and Rescue, the National Park Service and the USGS Research Vessel KIYI began a water search-and-rescue mission.

Strong thunderstorms hampered search efforts.

The release said a preliminary statement from the mother said the family's kayak had capsized between Stockton and Michigan Islands, and she was separated from her husband and children. Authorities say everyone was wearing a life jacket.

"They had life jackets on, but they had been in the water quite some time by the time the initial response vessel made it to them," Coast Guard Lt. Daniel Peters told WDIO. "I don't have the exact water temperatures. But I'm sure it was cold enough to bring on the onset of hypothermia really quickly which I'm sure was a contributing factor here."

The names of those involved are being withheld pending further investigation, according to the release.

Earlier, a Coast Guard spokesperson in Bayfield, Wisconsin, confirmed four people were found dead.

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Frank Rajkowski

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