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Four rescued from boat near Castle Danger

Karen Erickson has seen it before. The owner of Gooseberry Cabins in Castle Danger today pointed to the 30-foot cabin cruiser from Superior dashed onto what is known at the Castle Danger reef on Lake Superior. It was the scene of a four-person rescue Sunday afternoon involving teams from Lake County Search and Rescue, the Minnesota DNR, and the Coast Guard.

Owner Craig Oliver of South Range put out a distress call on marine radio at 1:20 p.m. after the boat ran aground on rocks with two couples on board returning from the Split Rock River area. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officer Dan Thomason heard the call about the boat taking on water and contacted Lake County authorities and the Coast Guard.

In his weekly report, Thomason said he was driving when he heard the call and "it was apparent that the U.S. Coast Guard was unable to hear the call" so he rallied the rescue teams.

Rescuers launched from the shore near Grand Superior Lodge and headed northeast to get to the boat. Lake County and DNR responders pulled the four people from the boat.

Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said the rescue was routine and there were no injuries. He said the owner will likely salvage the boat as it sat on the reef with about four feet of water in it. Resort owner Erickson said she spoke with a chagrinned Oliver today and he reported that salvaging the craft is up to the insurance company.

Oliver was unavailable for comment.

Erickson said those who know the shoreline stay away from the reef area to avoid what happened Sunday. The reef, marked on lake maps where Castle Danger Creek spills into Superior, has been snagging boats large and small since the 1800s. The dangerous area is about two miles south of the Gooseberry River as it enters the lake.

After the accident, the Coast Guard issued a warning to other vessels and worked to make sure the disabled vessel, which remained on the scene through today, would not become a danger to others on the water.