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Gale Force Winds Strand Campers On Oak Island

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

National Park News

Park search and rescue team members rescued 14 Camp Amnicon youth and guides stranded by gale force winds on Oak Island on June 22nd. The group was camped at Oak Island site A, 1.5 miles from the nearest dock, when a severe thunderstorm came ashore.  Gale force winds prohibited the campers from paddling their 36-foot canoe back to the mainland. During an hour-and-15-minute break in the severe weather, rescuers retrieved the wet and cold campers. One youth was in the beginning stages of hypothermia. Park volunteers Gene and Kandee Rosburg hiked the 1.5 miles to the campsite to attend to the campers while maintenance staff, using two 25-foot packman Munson landing crafts, rescued the 14 youth amidst five-foot waves. The vessels slid up to the beach near the campsite and boarded all campers without incident. Maintenance employees Dave Wilkins and Jason Charette captained the vessels with crew of Steve Witt and Tommy Richardson. EMTs and SAR teams waited at the mainland to administer first aid and take the grateful campers to a heated maintenance facility where dry blankets were wrapped around each camper. After speaking with camp leaders the park learned that the campers had all grown up in refugee camps in Somalia, Asia and Eastern Europe. Despite the rough weather, campers were saddened to leave their campsite because they had never experienced such a vast amount of clean, fresh water.



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