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Mission Fire Department rescues 2 brothers from the Pine River

The Mission Fire Department responded to the call, reported at 6:18 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, in Mission Township, east of Breezy Point.

A shelf cloud moves in with a clear view over a green field.
A shelf cloud with the approaching storm was captured July 12 just southeast of Brainerd at Highway 25 and County Highway 2.
Contributed / Chad Conroy
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MISSION TOWNSHIP — A pop-up summer storm hit Mission Township Tuesday, July 12, separating and stranding two kayakers on the Pine River in Crow Wing County.

The Mission Fire Department responded to the call at 6:18 p.m. in Mission Township, east of Breezy Point. According to Mission Fire Chief Eric Makowski, two brothers, one age 15 and the other's age unknown, were out kayaking on Pine River when the storm rolled in and separated them as they tried to make it to shore for safety.

Crosslake Police Chief Erik Lee said they received a report of brothers who were kayaking and separated in the storm with one kayaker unsure where his brother ended up.

“When that storm came in, it was pretty nasty and the river is high right now so I'm sure it's running fast,” Lee said.

With the high winds, down-pouring rain and hail, the brothers could not locate one another and one called 911.

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Makowski said the storm knocked down trees along the roadway, delaying their response as they had to clear the road as they went.

“On County Highway 19 and on County Road 109, we encountered trees that were completely blocking the road on the way to this rescue,” Makowski said. “We didn't really expect that but with our vehicles, we had all the appropriate equipment and the personnel to clear them quickly.”

Makowski had 17 Mission Township firefighters working through the night as around 15 trees and multiple power lines came down.

“We're able to get there and county dispatch was able to ping them to an approximate location,” Makowski said. “Both ended up being OK. One was across the river on an island and the other made it back to shore. But both kayaks were gone.”

Makowski said after they were able to rescue the kayaker from across the river and made sure he was OK, firefighters went down the river and grabbed the brothers’ kayaks and brought them back.

Mission Fire Department was on scene for about an hour and a half.

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Lee said after Mission Fire rescued the brother from the other side of the river both brothers were reunited with their mom.

“I think it was really good that those people had a cell phone and called 911 right away,” Makowski said “They had their life jackets on, which is fantastic. Crow Wing dispatch was on point with helping us locate the victims. It was good teamwork from everyone to make sure this was resolved quickly.”

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Assisting at the scene were the Crosslake Police Department, Breezy Point Police Department and the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email tim.speier@brainerddispatch.com .

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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