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Paddlers rescued after capsizing in Cloquet River

A canoe got hung up on some rocks and capsized in the rushing water, tossing 5 people into the river.
Credit: St. Louis County Sheriff's Rescue Squad
5 paddlers are safe and dry after capsizing in the Cloquet River in St. Louis County Sunday afternoon.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Minn. — A group of canoeists is safe and dry this morning, a far cry from where they were Sunday afternoon after capsizing and ending up in the frigid Cloquet River near Independence. 

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office says dispatchers received a 911 call from the group after a canoe, part of a flotilla that also included three kayaks, got hung up on some rocks and capsized in the rushing water, tossing 5 people into the river. They were able to make it safely to the river bank with assistance, but were stranded and unable to go on.

Volunteers from the St. Louis County Rescue squad responded, putting Zodiac boats in to the north of the remote area, and using a special tracked vehicle to the south. While some volunteers helped evacuate five of the paddlers, others went into the Cloquet river with safety ropes to remove the canoe, which had been severely damaged. 

We helped some folks out of a jam this afternoon after they ran into some higgledy-piggledy on the Cloquet River south of Independence. A canoe in a four-craft flotilla capsized, the paddlers cold and wet, the canoe pinned against a rock unable to be freed. We sent New-Z and White-Z down from Independence while the MarshMaster bushwhacked upstream from the south. Tonight's video shows Carter (red) and Alaina (blue) returning to shore after slinging the canoe for removal. Meanwhile, Patrick and Mark are off-camera left in New-Z shuttling the paddlers across the river at a quiet pool. Thank you to Sheriff's Deputies, 911-Dispatchers, and the two neighbors with intimate area knowledge who helped us out tremendously! (Justin LeBlanc video)

Posted by St Louis County Rescue Squad on Sunday, May 17, 2020

The remaining three paddlers and their kayaks continued their trip down the river. 

Authorities say all eight people in the group were wearing personal flotation devices. 

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