Wade Kingsporn is an outfitter for the Piragis Northwoods Company and according to him, The Upper Basswood Falls are very dangerous.
Kingsporn explained the strong currents and the multiple drop offs. Usually, canoeists travel a mile around the falls specifically to avoid the perilous path. In 2013 seventy-eight year old Dick Barber died as his canoe went over the Upper Basswood Falls.
Another incident happened Tuesday July 7th as three teenage boys from a Rochester youth church group were facing the same falls. Fortunately, they did not face the same fate as Barber.
The three boys were canoeing around 11am when the accident happened. They lost control of their canoe at the mouth of the Upper Basswood Falls. With a 25-30 foot drop below them, two of the boys escaped but one 15 year old boy became trapped between some rocks and the boat. The strong currents kept him pinned in the cold water where he experienced extreme hypothermia and a leg injury.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department received the call around 1pm but it wasn’t until 3pm that rescuers were able to reach the group. At 5:15pm the boy was finally pulled out of the water. Rescuers reported that the 15 year old didn’t remain conscious during the last half hour of pulling him out.
A helicopter showed up on site to airlift him to Ely Seaplane and from there was taken to the hospital (at about 8pm). It’s estimated that he could have spent anywhere as long as seven hours in the cold water.
He stayed at the hospital into today (Wednesday) but they were hoping to have him released by this evening. The other two boys that were aboard the canoe with him are “okay” according to Sheriff Casey Johnson.
The names of the boys will not be released because they are all minors.