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BWCA Storm Claims Lives Of Two Campers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Tragedy has hit in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for the second time in a matter of weeks due to severe summer storms.

A female volunteer and a Texas Boy Scout are the latest fatalities -- both were killed by falling trees.

The group of thee adult leaders and six scouts were on a guided canoe trip that originated at the Northern Tier High Adventure Camp on Moose Lake, which is east of Ely.

The group was on its final night in the wilderness and was camped at the east end of Basswood Lake, near the Prairie Portage entry point of Quetico Provincial Park along the Canadian border.

Weather radar images captured the severity of the storm cell, as it swept through around 3 a.m. Thursday.

BWCA Camper Deaths
(credit: Ely Echo/Hailey Worth)

"A severe storm with what we understand to be strong, straight-line winds unexpectedly came through," said Effie Delamarkos, spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America. "It's certainly part of the reality that we train for, but it doesn't make the difficult time that our scouting family and the local family there is feeling."

Two other scouts in the same canoe party suffered non-life threatening injuries, and were also evacuated.

"There was quite a bit of damage," said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Kris Reichenbach.

Forest service crews continue clearing portages and trails there were cut off by the storm. Float planes are surveying damage, helping medevac other injured campers.

"Another part of what they're doing is just trying to get through into areas that have been impacted and determine if anyone else there needs help," Reichenbach said.

Other members of the scouting group were brought out Thursday, and will get grief counseling.

The forest service is bracing for yet another round of storms over the same region this weekend.

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