Loyal man, three children die while kayaking Apostle Islands
For Hub City Times
ASHLAND – A Loyal man and his three children have died while kayaking Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands.
On Aug. 30 at approximately 8:29 p.m., the Ashland County Communications Center received a call from a woman who reported her sister, who was vacationing on Madeline Island with her husband and three children, had sent an alarming text message reading “911” and “Michigan Island.”
La Pointe Police investigated the call and determined the family had left the island in a kayak earlier in the day with the intention of touring the Apostle Islands. The U.S. Coast Guard, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bayfield Fire and Rescue, the National Park Service, and the USGS Research Vessel KIYI responded for a water and air search and rescue mission.
The R/V KIYI found the family’s mother, who was alive in the water on the west side of Michigan Island just after 10 p.m. The father and two of the children were found deceased in the water after midnight. Strong thunderstorms hampered the search efforts, but the third child was found deceased in the water near the Shore of Michigan Island at about 10 a.m. on Aug. 31.
A preliminary statement from the mother indicated that the family’s kayak had capsized off the Shore of Michigan Island. While attempting to swim to Michigan Island she became separated from her husband and children. All of the family members were wearing life jackets.
Cari A. Mews, 29, of Loyal, was the sole survivor. The father was identified as Erik D. Fryman, 39. The deceased children were ages 3, 6 and 9.
An autopsy will be conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office. The incident remains under investigation by the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Ashland and Bayfield County Coroner’s offices.