It was the final day of their vacation before school started. Then tragedy struck.
Erik Fryman, 39, and his three children — 9-year-old Kyra, 5-year-old Annaliese, and 3-year-old Jansen — died last Thursday during a tragic kayaking accident on Lake Superior near Bayfield, Wisconsin, KMSP-TV reported.
Only mother Cari Mews, Fryman’s 29-year-old wife, survived the incident when their 13-foot kayak began taking on water and was ultimately capsized after the weather suddenly changed about half an hour into their trip onto the water.
A family member shared this picture, taken last summer. Another family member remembers them as “a beloved family who will be missed dearly”. I’m told Cari Mews, the mother who survived, is surrounded by family tonight. @KSTP pic.twitter.com/EhDHUOyERk
— Callan Gray (@CallanGrayNews) September 1, 2018
All five family members were wearing life jackets.
After the kayak was overturned, Fryman and his three children began swimming toward the shoreline, which was a great distance away. Mews stayed with the kayak and tried to send a text message to another family member, though she didn’t have phone service.
Mews’ sister, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, received the message around 8:30 p.m. — several hours after Mews first attempted to send the text. Immediately after she received the notification, she called the Coast Guard and a search effort commenced.
A United States Geological Service research vessel responded to the area in Lake Superior just after 10 p.m., when they found Mews alive, still in the water on the west side of Michigan Island.
Not long after midnight, the Coast Guard finally discovered the father, Fryman, and two of the couple’s young children. They were found roughly one mile away from the shoreline. They had died.
The body of the third child, who had also passed away, was found in the water around 10 a.m. Friday.
Ashland County Sheriff Michael Brennan told KMSP-TV that the call they received from Mews’ sister is one law enforcement officers “dread,” particularly “when you have to deal with kids.”