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Minnesota man identified after being killed by falling tree as storms hit Boundary Waters

A 43-year-old Rochester man was killed by a falling tree and five others were injured in three separate incidents Sunday night as strong storms rolled across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

A 43-year-old Rochester man was killed by a falling tree and five others were injured in three separate incidents Sunday night as strong storms rolled across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday that Craig Anthony Walz was killed when a mature white pine was snapped off at the trunk and fell onto Walz on Duncan Lake, about 3 miles northeast of Trail Center and just south of the Canadian border.

Walz was camped with another adult male and two juvenile males; they “were in direct line of the severe weather when it hit,” the sheriff’s office reported in a news release. One of the juvenile males “suffered significant injuries,” the sheriff’s office reported.  

Walz’s body was recovered in the early morning Monday and was transported to Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center in Grand Marais for coroner review. No foul play was suspected and the investigation is closed. The seriously injured juvenile was transported by ambulance to the Grand Marais hospital, where he was met by a medical helicopter for further transfer.

Walz had been a chemistry and math teacher since 2003 at St. Charles High School in southeast Minnesota.

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“We’re all kind of in shock here,” said Principal Ben Bernard. “He’s a very good teacher - fantastic with the kids who needed the most help. He worked really hard. Great staff member; great colleague. He’s going to be missed.”

Another person was injured by a falling tree at Clove Lake, along the Canadian border northwest of Gunflint Lake.

And three people were injured by an indirect lightning strike while camped on Crooked Lake off Sunday Bay, along the U.S.-Canada border north of Ely, the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The incidents happened as “a very powerful storm” brought high winds to the BWCAW, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office reported. A number of severe storms developed across Northeastern Minnesota on Sunday night, spawning tornadoes and hail as large as softballs elsewhere in the region.

Related Topics: ACCIDENTS
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