A father and his three children who died after their kayak capsized last week on Lake Superior likely suffered hypothermia, authorities said Friday.
Preliminary autopsy results indicate the father likely died of hypothermia while the children likely died of hypothermia and possibly drowning, according to Ashland County Sheriff Mick Brennan. Final autopsy results won’t be available until additional test results are completed.
Meanwhile, several agencies, including the Coast Guard and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, are continuing to try to piece together what happened to the family after they left Madeline Island in an open-top tandem kayak to paddle to Michigan Island, about 4 miles away.
According to reports, Eric Fryman and his wife, Cari Mews-Fryman, left the island about 1 p.m. on Aug. 30 in a 13½-foot kayak with the three children — Kyra, 9; Annaliese, 5; and Jansen, 3. Hours later, the kayak capsized, authorities said.
All five family members were wearing life jackets.
The mother, the lone survivor, reported that her husband gathered all three children and swam toward shore while she returned to the kayak to grab a phone and flashlight in an emergency bag. In those few minutes, she told authorities that she lost sight of her husband and the children.
With little cell service on the lake, Mews-Fryman finally got a text message to her sister about 8 p.m. that said: “911” and “Michigan Island.”
The Coast Guard and emergency workers were alerted. A research vessel found the mother in the water about 10 p.m. Her husband’s body and those of the children were found hours later.
Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788