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Empty kayak prompts search

Authorities are trying to determine whether a kayaker went missing on Lake Superior after an empty kayak was found near Gooseberry Falls State Park Tuesday afternoon.

Hikers found the vessel near Twin Points, between Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse state parks. Searchers have found no sign of a paddler.

A Coast Guard helicopter resumed a search at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The boat's serial number led them to a Milwaukee outfitter that sold the boat. Efforts to contact the person who bought the boat have been unsuccessful.

"The big mystery right now is where is the guy the boat was sold to," Lake County Undersheriff Jerry Norberg said. "It could have been sold three or four more times. We just don't know."

Hikers found the boat washed up on rocks around 2 p.m. Tuesday. They moved it from the water and notified officials. Park workers, Lake County search-and-rescue personnel and the Coast Guard searched the area on water, land and from the air.

"They have found nothing so far," Norberg said Wednesday. "They [the Coast Guard] did all the calculations [Tuesday] night and figured that if the guy was in the water he had about six hours" before hypothermia would set in.

Searchers scoured the woods between the lake and Highway 61 in case the paddler had reached shore and collapsed. Authorities haven't found any unattended vehicles at area boat launches.

"And we've checked for missing kayaks in the Apostle Islands and elsewhere where maybe it could have just washed across the lake, because that [has] happened before, and we've come up with nothing so far," Norberg said.