Authorities say that a Minnesota teenager has passed away, and four other people were highly injured after being stabbed while rafting down the Wisconsin River.

Sheriff of St. Croix Scott Knudson, the targets and the suspect, a 52-year-old man from Prior Lake, Minnesota, were all on the Apple River when the attack occurred on Saturday afternoon.

"We don't know yet who was associated with whom, who knew each other or what poured it," Knudson said.

The knife attack took place on a hard-to-reach river near the town of Somerset, Wisconsin, about 56 kilometres east of Minneapolis.

The suspect was charged about an hour later while climbing downstream from the river.