Girls Scouts have lightning scare in remote Minnesota wilderness

Posted at 11:07 AM, Jul 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-27 15:51:39-04

A group of Girl Scouts camping in the remote wilderness of Minnesota, just miles from the Canadian border, needed rescuing late Friday after a lightning scare.

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The group of nine scouts was on Knife Lake in the Boundary Waters canoeing area, in St. Louis County, some 120 miles northeast of Duluth, when severe storms rolled through the area. They were about 20 miles from the Canadian border when lightning struck.

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"All patients are awake, alert, and able to move without assistance," St. Louis County Rescue Squad said in a statement posted to Facebook early Saturday.

Officials had said before reaching the group that two girls were "showing accute symptoms that have us concerned."

On Saturday afternoon, the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines assured everyone of the none of the girls were struck by lightning and that they were all safe.

"All of the girls are back at the canoe base and have changed into dry clothes and were sipping on warm beverages," the group posted on its Facebook page.

Before reaching safety, the girls had to be rescued by ground and paddle teams about midnight after the Minnesota State Police dispatched a plane to pinpoint the location of the group, authorities said.

Local officials also said they reached out to the Army National Guard for help, but the guard was unable to deploy a Blackhawk helicopter due to its use elsewhere.

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"Thank you for all your comments, support, prayers, and inquiries," St. Louis County Rescue Squad said. "Many agencies are throwing a LOT of effort at rescuing these people."

Rescuers brought the injured children to safety by canoe overnight.

The group of Girl Scouts was from Chicago, a spokesperson told Duluth ABC affiliate WDIO.

"The lead guide called in the lightning strike, per protocol, informed authorities of their exact location per the planned route, and said 'they believe that lightning struck the ground and they might have experienced ground current,'" Nancy McMullen, director of Marketing, Communications and Customer Care for the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, told WDIO in a statement.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted about the rescue effort late Friday as well, calling them "a group of very brave Girl Scouts [who] need your prayers tonight."

Weather was warm in the region on Friday, and a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for northeast Minnesota throughout the night.