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Shakopee, Minn., man and sons rescued from rocks in middle of river at state park

A Shakopee man and his two sons, 11 and 8, were rescued from rocks where they were stranded in the St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park this afternoon.

Joe Matuza and his boys had been hiking on the south side of the river and attempted to cross to the north side by hopping rocks. They reached a point where the boys could go no farther.

Joe Matuza swam about 30 feet of fast-flowing current, climbed a steep bank and was able to reach a phone to call 911. After calling, he swam and waded back to where the boys sat on a rock in the fast current.

They were halfway between the Jay Cooke Visitor's Center and Oldenberg Point.

A diver with the Cloquet Police Department, Derek Randall, waded out in a wetsuit and retrieved the boys and their father one by one. Appearing uninjured, the boys and their father walked up the embankment.

Responding in addition to Cloquet police were emergency crews from the Esko Fire Department, Carlton County Fire and Ambulance, Carlton County Sheriff's Office, the Thomson Township police chief and a Fond du Lac Reservation conservation officer.

Sam Cook is a reporter at the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.