On August 30, 2018 at approximately 8:29 P.M. the Ashland County Communications Center received a call from a woman who reported her sister, who was vacationing on Madeline Island with her husband and three children, had sent an alarming text message reading “911” and “Michigan Island.” La Pointe Police investigated the call and determined the family had left the island in a kayak earlier in the day with the intention of touring the Apostle Islands.
The U.S. Coast Guard, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bayfield Fire and Rescue, the National Park Service, and the USGS Research Vessel KIYI responded for a water and air search and rescue mission.
The R/V KIYI rescued the family’s mother who was alive in the water on the west side of Michigan Island just after 10:00 P.M. on August 30, 2018.
The father and two of the children were found deceased in the water after midnight. Strong thunderstorms hampered the search efforts, but the third child was found deceased in the water near the Shore of Michigan Island at about 10:00 A.M. on August 31st .
A preliminary statement from the mother indicated that the family’s kayak had capsized off the Shore of Michigan Island. While attempting to swim to Michigan Island she became separated from her husband and children. All of the family members were wearing life jackets.
Cari A. Mews age 29 from Loyal Wisconsin was the sole survivor.
The names of the deceased adult male was identified as Erik D. Fryman age 39, father from Loyal WI. The deceased children were ages 3, 6 and 9 years old. An Autopsy will be conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office.
The incident remains under investigation by the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and The Ashland and Bayfield County Coroner’s offices.
Per Ashland County Sheriff’s Office