Wisconsin mother is lone survivor after kayak capsizes on Lake Superior, killing husband and three children

A Wisconsin family of five was enjoying their last family vacation before the children returned to school when their kayak capsized on Lake Superior, killing all but one of them.

Rescue crews late Thursday night pulled the body of 39-year-old Erik Fryman from the water, not far from Madeline Island, according to WCCO. By Friday morning they’d recovered the bodies of all three of his children, 9-year-old Kyra, 5-year-old Annaliese and 3-year-old Jansen.

His wife and mother of the children, Cari Mews was found alive in the water on the west side of Michigan Island late Thursday night. She was the only survivor.

Earlier the in the day, the family had set out from Madeline Island with the intent of touring the nearby Apostle Islands, LaPointe Police told WDIO. The weather started to change and waves swelled to between three and four feet, forcing the kayak carrying them to flip.

Mews told authorities her husband gathered up their children and began to swim toward Michigan Island while she returned to the open-top tandem kayak for an emergency kit and her cellphone.

She was almost immediately separated from her family, but Mews did manage to fire off a frantic text message to her sister, Bobi Jo Mews. She, in turn, alerted authorities.

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

Their search efforts were hampered by overnight rainstorms, authorities said, but all of the family was accounted for ahead of the weekend. Mews was fully clothed when rescuers found her while her children and husband were found in swimsuits.

Hypothermia is likely a “huge factor” in their deaths, Coast Guard Lt. Peters told the Star Tribune.