Falling tree kills 1, lightning strike injures 3 in Boundary Waters Canoe Area


Falling trees killed a person and injured at least two others as strong storms rolled through northern Minnesota Sunday night.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office says strong winds caused a mature white pine snapped off at the trunk, killing 43-year-old Craig Walz, of Rochester. He's the brother of U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and a teacher in the St. Charles School District.

A juvenile male also suffered "significant injuries" in the incident. He was identified by The Rochester Swim Club Orcas Craig Walz's son, Jacob.

The Walzs, along with another adult male and juvenile male, were camping near Duncan Lake when the storms rolled through, according to the sheriff's office.

Due to the weather and water conditions, the sheriff's office had to wait until Monday morning to recover Craig Walz's body.

The sheriff's office says no foul play is suspected and the investigation is considered closed.

In a separate incident around the same time Sunday night, a falling tree injured a man near Clove Lake, which is on the border of the United States and Canada, the sheriff's office said.

The man suffered injuries to his upper body and was taken to the hospital. His condition hasn't been released.

3 hurt from lightning strike

Three people were injured after lightning struck near a group of people camping in Sunday Bay of Crooked Lake in the Boundary Waters.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office says the group, including two adults and six kids, were away from the water "conducting a lightning drill spread out among the trees" when lightning hit the stand of trees above the group, causing ground effects from an indirect lightning strike.

Three people suffered injuries ranging from superficial burns to temporary loss of consciousness, while everyone in the group complained of numbness.

They were brought to the hospital for medical treatment, but none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening, the sheriff's office adds.

There was at least one other injury reported from Sunday night's storm. A tree fell on a home in Crow Wing County – the residents were trapped inside and had to be extricated, but only minor injuries were reported, the National Weather Service says.

Wind gusts of 60-70 mph and large hail were reported Sunday night, the National Weather Service in Duluth said. The agency will be surveying storm damage in the area on Monday, according to its website.

In 2015, weather-related events in Minnesota killed one person (due to cold) and injured six, according to the National Weather Service.

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