MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One person is dead and others suffered injuries after powerful storms moved through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Sunday evening.
One of the emergency calls came in at 10:25 p.m. reporting a deceased person and a severely injured person on Duncan Lake. Emergency responders transported the injured victim out to an awaiting Cook County Ambulance, which took the victim to an area hospital and then to the medical helicopter.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office says the person killed was 43-year-old Craig Walz, the brother of Congressman Tim Walz. The injured victim was his 8-year-old son Jacob Walz, who remains in critical condition at Essentia Health in Duluth.
Craig Walz was a teacher of chemistry, calculus and geometry at St. Charles High School, according to the school’s website.
Sara Severs, a spokesperson for Rep. Tim Walz, released the following statement on Monday afternoon:
“Last night, Congressman Walz’s brother, Craig Walz, was killed while up camping in our beloved Boundary Waters. The family wants to express their profound gratitude to law enforcement, first responders and fellow campers who responded immediately to help. The family is also grateful for the messages of support and prayers they have received. They are devastated by the loss and ask for privacy at this time.”
“The DFL was saddened to learn that Rep. Tim Walz’s brother, Craig Walz, was killed during the storms this weekend in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) while on a trip with his son,” DFL Chairman Ken Martin said. “Craig, a beloved math and science teacher at St. Charles High School in Southern Minnesota, is remembered by his family, students, and community as an amazing husband and father, and outstanding teacher, a passionate mentor and loving friend.”
St. Charles High School Principal Dr. Ben Bernard says for 13 years, Walz had a special way of teaching some of the school’s toughest courses.
“He really did a good job of finding a way to connect with students,” Bernard said. “Finding a way to say, ‘Maybe you don’t think you can pass this class, you don’t think you can get through, but I’ll get you through.’ And he just worked really hard to get those kids through.”
Two other incidents left several injured as well.
The first incident, reported at 10:24 p.m., involved a tree falling on a man who was on Clove Lake, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. The man suffered injuries to his upper chest. A helicopter was requested, but was diverted to the next emergency call. He was eventually reached by rescuers and taken to an area hospital via ambulance.
In the last incident, reported at 11:10 p.m., the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office says lightning struck trees near a group of campers – two adults and six children – on the Sunday Bay of Crooked Lake. Three from the group suffered injuries ranging from superficial burns to temporary loss of consciousness, but the entire group complained of numbness as a result of the strike.
The group was away from the water and conducting a lightning drill spread out among trees at the time of the strike.
The group was taken to a hospital in Ely for further treatment of their injuries, all of which appear to be non-life threatening.