An 11-year-old Duluth girl had her ankle and foot cut in 25 places Wednesday, July 19 – possibly by a muskie, according to her doctors – while hanging off a paddleboard on Island Lake near Duluth.
According to reports, Maren Kesselhon and her two sisters were taking turns riding the paddleboard as it was towed behind the family boat. Maren was cooling off in the water on the steamy day, wearing a life preserver and holding onto the paddleboard when the incident occurred at about 1:30 p.m. that day.
“I just jumped off because it was hot, and five seconds later, I could feel the whooshing, and I could feel my foot in its mouth. I kicked it, because it was … instinct,” she told a local television station.
According to reports, Maren had to undergo surgery to repair a tendon and stitch up the cuts; doctors said they thought a fish had caused the wounds, which included two severe lacerations.
“Clearly it was a freak incident,” Maren’s father, Ryan, said in a conversation via Facebook with Outdoor News.
The 8,000-acre lake is known to hold large muskies and northern pike – according to reports, a 55-inch muskie was caught on Island last year and a 47-incher was caught the same day as Maren’s attack. Both fish reportedly were released.
And while reports say doctors believe a fish caused Maren’s wounds, a woman also suffered 25 bite marks when she was attacked by an otter while swimming in the lake in 2012, reports say.