MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A man and his three children died after their kayak capsized on Lake Superior Thursday.

When Bobi Jo Mews saw two short, frantic text messages from her sister Thursday night, she immediately knew something was wrong.

“I got a text message that said ‘911,’ and then immediately following, ‘Michigan Island.’ I knew that they were going kayaking that day … I just knew I had to call the police to see if they could go look for them,” said Mews.

Her sister, Cari Mews, along with her husband, Eric Fryman, and their three children were on their last “before school starts” vacation, visiting Madeline Island on Lake Superior.

(credit: Family)

“They loved to go camping together and they took their kids everywhere and explored the world,” said Mews.

The trip took a devastating turn when the family was out on the lake in a kayak, on their way to explore the Apostle Islands on Thursday afternoon.

The weather began to change and waves swelled between 3 and 4 feet. The kayak carrying the family capsized.

Late Thursday night and early Friday morning, crews recovered the bodies of 39-year-old Eric, 9-year-old Kyra, 5-year-old Annaliese and 3-year-old Jansen from the water.

Cari was rescued alive on the west side of Michigan Island in 60-degree water. She was not hospitalized.

Just last year, the family of five had vacationed in the same area and could not wait to go back again this summer.

Every member of the family was wearing a life jacket.

“Even with all the required safety equipment and all the right training, anything can happen when you get out on the lake,” said Coast Guard spokesperson Justin Sickler.

Comments (42)
  1. Linda Darnton says:

    Sadly the parents had no training or knowledge, other than they should wear life jackets. The NPS Apostle Islands safety warning clearly states that wetsuits should be worn because of cold water temps and a VHF radio carried because of limited (if any) cell service. Five people in a small kayak might be acceptable close to shore in shallow water, but never for open crossings of two miles or more, especially when the paddlers have no idea how to get back in the boat after a capsize. You don’t know what you don’t know and I can only hope Cari Mews seeks counseling to help her deal with this heartbreaking loss.

  2. Richard H. Somers says:

    Where would I find a sit-on-top kayak designed to carry 2 adults and 3 children, ages 3, 6 and 9?