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Rescue crews respond to family in distress in woods near Ely

A family was rescued along the Secret/Blackstone Trail off Moose Lake Road outside of Ely late Monday evening.

“We had a family — husband, wife, two children — hiking on the traill when the wife broke through some ice along the trail,” said Kurt Erickson, first lieutenant of the north division of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad. “It wasn’t a lake, but a beaver dam or swamp. She got quite wet and cold enough to have trouble walking.”

The trail, which Erickson said goes about 3 miles deep into the woods, loops to an exit. The family got off the trail, Erickson said, but he didn’t know how the family lost the trail.

The family used a cellphone to reach authorities and the rescue team, led by Erickson, used cellphone coordinates to help find the family in the woods. As of press time, the family had made contact with rescuers, but remained in the woods. The woman was suffering from mild hypothermia and rescuers had built fires as they awaited further assistance from backup crews.

The trails are in Lake County, but Erickson, who lives outside of Ely, was able to respond quickly after Lake County called on St. Louis County for assistance.

The phone call that prompted the rescue came about 7 p.m., Erickson said. The children were both elementary-school-age.