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Paddler air-evacuated from Boundary Waters

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

On Monday, July 8, just before 5 p.m., the Cook County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency call for help from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, not from a cell phone or SPOT emergency beacon, but from a firefighter’s emergency radio.

The message received was that an adult male had fallen and blacked out for a moment at Larch Creek. The party was conscious and breathing, but had facial injuries, broken teeth and a lacerated finger.

It was determined that the radio and call for help belonged to Cloquet firefighter Grant Gimpel, who was in the Boundary Waters with his 11-year-old son.

Cook County Search and Rescue and Gunflint Ambulance members headed to the Gunflint Trail entry point. Two emergency medical technicians started in to reach Gimpel by canoe.

Meanwhile, a Beaver rescue plane was requested to extract the patient. The aircraft picked up Gimpel and his son and was airborne by 6 p.m. The Beaver floatplane landed at the Devil Track Lake public landing and was met by North Shore Health ambulance at 7 p.m.

Gunflint First Responders picked up the family’s gear and paddled out, clearing the scene just before 8 p.m.

No further information is available on the patient’s condition, but it did not appear that his injuries were life-threatening.