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Teen trapped for many hours after going over falls in Boundary Waters

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A teenager whose leg was trapped between a canoe and rocks in a remote area of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area was rescued after spending several hours in the water Tuesday.

Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson says three teenagers in a canoe went over Basswood Falls – a drop of 25-30 feet – Tuesday, the Duluth News Tribune reports, and the force of the water trapped the canoe against one of the teen's legs. By the time rescuers freed him, he was "nearly unconscious," officials told the newspaper.


The three teenagers were among at least four other canoes from a Rochester church group, the Star Tribune notes.

"They were afraid they were going to lose him," the Lake County Sheriff's Office said of the teen's companions, the newspaper notes.

Officials say the teenager suffered extreme hypothermia after being in the water for nearly seven hours, WDIO says, noting he was unconscious for at least 30 minutes, Northland's NewsCenter reports.

The teenager also suffered injuries to his leg, but he is expected to be released from the hospital sometime Wednesday.

The teenagers were canoeing in a remote area of the Boundary Waters along the Minnesota-Canadian border where Basswood Lake empties into Basswood River and Crooked Lake. The area is so remote that Northland's NewsService says rescuers had to portage and canoe into the area to reach the trapped teen.

Their canoe went over the falls between 10:30-11:30 a.m., reports note, and rescuers were called around 1 p.m. Rescuers were able to free the teen around 5:15 p.m., but then they had to wait two more hours for a State Patrol helicopter to arrive to fly the boy via basket to a U.S. Forest Service Beaver plane, which then brought him to Ely, before he was then transported to the hospital.

The two other teenagers in the canoe were OK. They haven't been identified.

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