Father and son rescued from Temperance River rapids
Rescuers were paged to Temperance River on Sunday, June 30 to rescue a father and son who had become trapped in the rushing water.
Russell Brown, 16, of Northfield, Minnesota, apparently did not realize how rapid the river was while swimming near the southernmost bridge on the river. The water pulled him under several times and his father, Gregory Brown, 49, also of Northfield, jumped in to try to save him. He too became trapped in the current.
Russell was swept to the east side of the river and was able to climb out of the water onto a small sand bar.
Gregory Brown was unable to reach him and clung to a rock in the current. Some bystanders found the life ring kept in a box near the river. They were able to toss the ring to Gregory Brown who was then able to float downstream and to shore with their assistance.
Russell however remained trapped by the rushing water. Emergency responders from Tofte and Schroeder responded. Tofte Assistant Fire Chief Tim Norman and Pete Borson of the Schroeder Fire Department were able to drop a life jacket to the teen. Once he rested and got the life jacket on, he felt he would be able to swim to safety. Coached by Borson from above, the young man swam and let the current carry him down the river and to the riverbank.
Tofte First Responders monitored the father and son as they warmed up and calmed down. Cook County Ambulance responded to the scene but neither man needed further medical attention.
Assistant Fire Chief Norman said the spot were Russell Brown experienced difficulty is where other deaths have occurred on the river. Norman said, “It looks so innocent, you can almost step over it, but it can be deadly.”
The Browns are indeed extremely fortunate. There have been multiple deaths in the powerful Temperance River rapids. The latest was in 2008 when two young women, 17 and 22, from Maple Grove, MN perished after being swept away by the current in a popular wading spot further up the river.
In 2001, a 22-year-old hiker from Finland, MN died after falling in the river. In 2000, a 50-year-old Wisconsin man drowned while saving his eight-year-old son. Also in 2000, another father, 48, from Remer, MN drowned while rescuing his 12-year-old daughter. In 1996, a 14-year-old boy from Crystal, MN drowned after diving at one of Temperance’s waterfalls.