A group of Girl Scouts were rescued by boat Friday night after lightning struck their campsite near the Minnesota-Canada border, authorities said. Several agencies — including the St. Louis County Rescue Squad, the United States Border Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources — joined forces in the search effort to rescue the girls and their guide, CBS Minnesota reports.
The group of nine, which included the Girl Scouts and their guide, were camping at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near the Canadian boundary waters when lightning struck around 7:15 p.m., the Lake County Sheriff's Office said.
"The lead guide called in the lightning strike per protocol, informed authorities of their exact location per the planned route and said they believed that lightning 'struck the ground and they might have experienced ground current,'" Nancy McMullen, director of communications for the Girl Scouts, told CBS Duluth affiliate KDLH.
Crews reached the group and got them to Moose Landing just before 4 a.m. Saturday. Motorboats were used to get crews to the first portage point, then rescuers used canoes the rest of the way to retrieve the members.
The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin posted on Facebook that all the girls were "back at the canoe base and have changed into dry clothes and were sipping on warm beverages." The Girl Scouts said no one was injured, and initial reports that scouts were struck by lightning turned out to be incorrect.
"Their prepared guide swiftly took action following safety protocols which included calling in a lightning strike, informing authorities of their exact location per the planned route, and reporting they believed that lightning struck the ground and they might have experienced ground current. We're happy to share that all nine members of the Girl Scouts are safe! Thanks to everyone who has kept the well-being of these go-getters in their thoughts and prayers," the group said.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called the rescue "Minnesota at its best."
The girls, who are between ages 15 and 18, are from the Chicago area.