A family vacation on Lake Superior had a tragic turn when their kayak capsized, killing the father and three young children and leaving the mother as the sole survivor.
Cari Mews, 29, and Erik Fryman, 39, took their children on an end-of-summer trip to visit the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. The family of five originally from Loyal, Wisconsin, was on vacation in the area last year and was looking forward to visiting again, said Bobi Jo Mews, Cari’s sister, to CNN affiliate WCCO.
“They loved going camping together and they took their children everywhere and explored the world,” he told the television network.
They were kayaking from Madeline Island to Michigan Island on Thursday afternoon when the wind and waves began to rise and caused the water to enter the kayak, US Coast Guard spokesman Alan Haraf told CNN. The family’s 41-meter ship capsized and the five, each wearing a life jacket, fell into the open sea, Haraf said.
Cari Mews was able to use her cell phone, which was stored in a waterproof bag, to send a text message to her sister.
“I received a text message saying ‘911’ and then, ‘Michigan Island.’ I knew that they would go kayaking that day … I just knew that I had to call the police to see if they could go and get them,” Bobi said. Mews to WCCO.
The text message did not reach Cari Mews’s sister until about five hours later because there was no cellular service in the area, according to Haraf.
After the sister contacted the authorities, half a dozen agencies mobilized to help with the rescue efforts in search of the family. The Coast Guard issued an emergency alert to all boats in the area asking them to deviate to where the kayak had tipped.
The USGS Research Vessel KIYI was the first ship to arrive on the scene. Around 10 pm CT, crews on board the vessel saw a small light coming from the water near Michigan Island. It was from Carl Mews, who had been submerged in water at 15 degrees centigrade for almost six hours.
“She was holding what was possibly a cell phone light,” Haraf told CNN. “I was exhausted and suffered from hypothermia.”
When trying to swim to the island of Michigan, Mews separated from her husband and children, ages 3, 6 and 9, in the choppy waters of Lake Superior, according to the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, which helped in the rescue.
“It was shortly after (at midnight) when a Coast Guard team located the bodies of the father, the little boy and one of the girls,” Haraf told CNN.
Thunderstorms in the area hampered rescue efforts until Friday morning. At that time, the National Park Service located the body of the 9-year-old daughter on the coast of Michigan Island.
“Even with all the required safety equipment and all the right training, anything can happen when you go out to the lake,” Justin Coach of the Coast Guard told WCCO.
Source: CNN Espanol