10-year-old girl and her father die while swimming near popular Duluth beach house

Waves were 5-7 feet high on Lake Superior, and there were no lifeguards on duty.
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A 10-year-old girl and her father died while swimming in Lake Superior near a popular Duluth beach house.

The two were spotted "in distress" while in the water near Park Point Recreation Center around 4:20 p.m. Thursday, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said in an email release.

Right after that both the girl and her father disappeared, and couldn't be seen amid the high waves.

"Sad day ... this was a tough one," wrote the St. Louis County Rescue Squad on Facebook

High waves made the search difficult

The girl's sister told the Duluth Fire Department when they arrived that the two hadn't been visible in the water for several minutes, a city news release says

The waves while first responders tried to search were 5-7 feet high.

It wasn't until about 5:20 p.m., an hour after the 911 call, that the girl was pulled from Lake Superior. Her father was found about 40 minutes after that.

Both were given CPR and taken to Essentia Health hospital in Duluth, but died.

The father, 38 years old, is from Osceola, Wisconsin, while his 10-year-old daughter is from Hudson. The sheriff's office is not naming them at this point so family can be notified.

A firefighter who helped pull the father from the water was injured during the rescue, "taking in a large amount of water," the fire department says. He is at the hospital being evaluated.

There was a rip current warning, no lifeguards

The Park Point Recreation Center is a beach house along Minnesota Avenue – the thin strip of land that cuts through Lake Superior from Duluth toward Wisconsin.

The beach there is a popular spot for families in the summer, the city's website says, with the beach house managed by the Duluth Area Family YMCA. 

The Duluth Fire Department on Thursday morning issued a rip current warning, which will remain in effect into Friday. Public beaches are closed when there's a warning like this, and the fire department says signs and flags are posted along Park Point.

"There are currently no lifeguards at Park Point," the fire department said when issuing the red flag warning Thursday, noting rip currents "are life-threatening to anyone entering the water."

Rip currents happen on the surface of a lake when water flows away from the shore in a strong, narrow channel, Minnesota Sea Grant explains. Strong swimmers can get pulled hundreds of yards away from shore by rip currents.

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