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Ely, MN (KROC AM News) - A camper had a close call last weekend in northern Minnesota when he became caught in heavy snow and freezing temperatures.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the man was in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely when he began experiencing severe hypothermia Saturday.

The DNR says, fortunately, the man had decided to rent some emergency communications equipment and used it to send an SOS around 5:00 PM. The DNR says Conservation Officer Sean Williams and members of the volunteer St. Louis County Rescue Squad arrived at Nina Moose Lake three hours later.

“It was as dark as I’ve ever seen it out there,” Williams said. “You couldn’t see anything. It was snowing heavily, fog was moving in, and there was ice on the lake. We had to break through ice to get to the middle of the lake, and when we made it to the middle it was so dark we had to use a GPS to find the shore and his campsite.”

A rescue squad member applied heat pads to the man’s core to begin warming him. Rescuers got him into warmer gear and built a fire, which he sat near for about 90 minutes while wrapped in a wool blanket. When the man was sufficiently warm, rescue personnel loaded him into the boat and headed back to their entry point. Other members of the rescue squad met them at the final portage and helped get the 34-year-old Indiana man out of the wilderness and to medical attention.

“Had we not gotten there when we did, I don’t know that he would have made it through the night,” Williams said. “Luckily he had the communications equipment and wasn’t afraid to use it once he knew he was in trouble.”

 

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