Ely, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Six people were rushed to the hospital after two canoes capsized in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Thursday.
Authorities began searching the waters at 4 p.m. after a party of eight from a Boy Scout Troop from West Chester Ohio, three adults and five kids, capsized on Basswood Lake. At least three people suffered from hypothermia.
The troop was being lead by staff from Northern Tier Adventures, which does canoeing trips around the Boundary Waters for Boy Scout groups.
A public access boat launch next to LaTourell's Resort, served as the staging area during the rescue. Authorities say all of the canoeists were wearing life jackets which played a role in their survival.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office was the lead agency in charge of the search; they say high winds were a factor in the accident.
"Weather conditions were less than favorable for being out on big water at least and the high winds and big waves and big open water was not good condition for boats let alone canoes," said Lake County Sheriff, Carey Johnson.
"I think that the wind and the rain is making it super challenging for people out there," Dispatcher, Thela Fitzgerald, said. "We'd like to thank all of the assisting agencies, without them this rescue wouldn't have been possible."
Outdoor experts say you should ask yourself before putting the boat in the water.
"If I were to capsize can I get myself and my group back into my boat quickly in just a couple of minutes?" said Stephanie Love from Positive Energy Outdoor.
Experts say getting out of the water as soon as possible will help you stay warm.
Two of the eight canoeists were able to get to an island where they were rescued by helicopter.
"We lifted one rescuer with a remaining patient and extracted the first patient to a location nearby where the U.S Forest service beaver was located," said Capt. Alan Gabriele from the St. Paul Fire Dept.
The Minnesota State Patrol, the St. Paul Fire Department, and the U.S Forest Service assisted in the rescue from the air.
Assisting agencies included the U.S. Force Service Dispatch, pilots in the one beaver plane that went out, the Minnesota State Patrol (they sent a Trooper 8 helicopter that was crucial in this rescue), the Minnesota State Patrol Dispatch, The Minnesota DNR, the St. Louis County Dispatch, the St. Louis County Rescue Squad and the Ontario Provincial Police.