1 swimmer found, another missing in Lake Superior at Du…

DULUTH, Minn. — A father and daughter from western Wisconsin died Thursday after being pulled from the waters of Lake Superior off Park Point in Duluth following a search that lasted for more than an hour amid large waves.

Personnel from the Duluth Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance work Thursday evening, Aug. 10, 2017, administering CPR to a girl who was pulled from Lake Superior at the Park Point Beach in Duluth, Minn., as other emergency personnel continue to search for the girl’s father. He was also pulled from the lake about 40 minutes later. Both victims, from western Wisconsin, died. (Clint Austin / Forum News Service)

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office reported late Thursday that the victims were a 10-year-old girl from Hudson, Wis., and a 38-year-old man from Osceola, Wis. Their names were being withheld pending notification of family.

Duluth Fire Department Assistant Chief Erik Simonson said neither the man nor girl had a pulse when they were pulled from the lake in front of the Park Point Beach House about 40 minutes apart. Firefighters began CPR immediately and the victims were transported to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center.

One firefighter took “in a lot of water” while returning the man to shore, and he was also taken to a hospital for evaluation, Simonson said. Two firefighters wearing survival suits made their way back to shore after the Duluth Fire Department’s rescue boat capsized in the waves.

Authorities responded at about 4:20 p.m. Thursday to a call from a girl who reported that her father and sister were in the water and hadn’t been seen for about 10 minutes, Simonson said. The Sheriff’s Office reported that the 911 caller said the two swimmers were in distress while in the water, and then couldn’t be located in the high waves.

“We commenced a search. The waves are really high, probably talking about 6-, 7-foot waves, pretty difficult search conditions,” Simonson said.

081017 --- Clint Austin --- 081117.N.DNT.LAKESEARCH.C04 --- A Duluth firefighter floats in Lake Superior after a rescue boat capsized after battling large waves on Lake Superior Thursday evening while searching for two missing swimmers near the Park Point Beach House in Duluth. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)
A Duluth firefighter floats in Lake Superior after a rescue boat capsized after battling large waves on Lake Superior on Thursday evening, Aug. 10, 2017, while searching for two missing swimmers near the Park Point Beach House in Duluth. (Clint Austin / Forum News Service)

The girl was brought to shore at about 5:20 p.m. and the man was brought to shore at about 6 p.m. Simonson said the man was in the water for about 90 minutes.

A police officer consoled another girl in the beach house’s parking lot as first responders stood along a stretch of the beach near a pile of the swimmers’ jeans, shirts and flip-flops. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and fire department stood on top of the dunes scanning the water with binoculars as firefighters and St. Louis County sheriff’s deputies and Rescue Squad members scanned the roaring waves from the beach.

The fire department’s boat battled through waves higher than the boat and its occupants, while the Coast Guard’s boat search

ed back and forth farther out on the lake, later joined in the search by several St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office boats.

081017 --- Clint Austin --- 081117.N.DNT.LAKESEARCH.C03 --- A Duluth firefighter helps another firefighter to shore after their rescue boat capsized after battling large waves on Lake Superior Thursday evening while searching for two missing swimmers near the Park Point Beach House in Duluth. The survival suit of the firefighter in the water filled with water making it difficult to reach shore. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)
A Duluth firefighter helps another firefighter to shore after a rescue boat capsized after battling large waves on Lake Superior on Thursday evening, Aug. 10, 2017, while searching for two missing swimmers near the Park Point Beach House in Duluth. The survival suit of the firefighter in the water filled with water, making it difficult to reach shore. (Clint Austin / Forum News Service)

First responders ran down the beach as a firefighter pulled the girl to shore and firefighters gathered around her to start CPR. As she was carried to an ambulance on a stretcher, searchers turned again to the water to find the man. The fire department’s boat began circling an area where they believed the man was in the water and firefighters on shore prepared to go in the water to grab him. About 20 minutes later, he was pulled to shore, where CPR was started.

While searching for the man, a wave flipped the fire department’s boat over, sending two firefighters wearing survival suits into the water. The firefighters floated in the water next to their upside-down boat, trying to let the waves push them toward shore. A firefighter on shore tossed them a throw line, but they were able to walk into shore on their own. However, one of them needed assistance for the last few feet because his survival suit had filled with water — the water pouring out as he unzipped the suit on shore.

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