NEAR BAUDETTE, Minn. — All missing people have been accounted for Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 26, as officials continued rescuing anglers stranded on Lake of the Woods during Sunday’s blizzard, a press release from the Lake of the Woods Sheriff’s Department said.
Among those now located are two adults and two children who had not been in touch with family since Friday. By Tuesday afternoon, they “have been found and are OK,” according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Two adults and two children were reported missing Tuesday morning and the release said there were several calls from concerned family members since Sunday, though all missing parties have now been located.
Sunday’s blizzard included wind gusts of 30-50 mph across the region, which left dozens stranded on Lake of the Woods, where blowing snow quickly blocked roads plowed more than 20 miles onto the lake.
Combined with slush that forms when the weight of snow pushes water up through cracks in the ice, the conditions made efforts to reach snowed-in anglers difficult.
A Border Patrol helicopter searched the area again Tuesday to search for signs of distress, but the release said no one appeared to need assistance during Monday’s air search and several people were outside their ice houses shoveling and snow-blowing.
Employees from local resorts have been working around the clock since Sunday’s storm to reach stranded anglers, the release said. Adrian’s Resort employees told law enforcement Tuesday morning that two groups of ice houses had not yet been reached with plows, though they planned to continue efforts to reach them. Deputies took to snowmobiles to check on remaining ice houses, the release said.
“It’s a real mess,” Sheriff Gary Fish told Baudette’s Northern Light Region newspaper Monday, adding he’d flown over the lake in a helicopter brought in to help with search. “The good news is that we’re seeing signs of life everywhere. People are out shoveling. No one is running out of the houses waving us down.”
Fish also told the newspaper he knew of at least a few plow trucks became stuck in drifted snow and slush on the lake.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Border Patrol assisted the sheriff’s office. Minnesota Power also offered assistance.