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Search Resumes for Missing Canoers After BWCAW Waterfall Incident

Following a terrible occurrence over the weekend in the Boundary Waters Canoe region Wilderness (BWCAW), search efforts for two missing people have begun. The two missing people are part of a group of four paddlers in two canoes from the Twin Cities region.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office’s Cmdr. Nate Skelton verified that the search for the missing paddlers started on Monday at seven in the morning. Using a mix of air, sea, and ground forces, including drones, ground troops, and remote-controlled submarines, is part of the operation.

Skelton said that the event started when one of the canoes became distressed and other people volunteered to help. Unfortunately, rapid river currents caused both canoes to be swept over the falls, making search and rescue operations more difficult.

The Superior National Forest has responded to the incident by temporarily closing all Iron Lake-related routes, campsites, portages, and bodies of water until Tuesday. This includes some portages and Crooked Lake, which is located west of Sunday Bay.

The experience started on Saturday night when it was reported that the canoes had crossed Curtain Falls, which is situated on the boundary between Minnesota and Ontario between Crooked Lake and Iron Lake. The caller stated that at least one person had suffered significant injuries and that two people were missing.

The two surviving canoers were removed in the wee hours of Sunday by a state Department of Natural Resources chopper; one of them is presently receiving medical attention in Duluth due to serious injuries. From a nearby campsite connected to the canoers, they were successfully retrieved by the Sheriff’s Office Rescue Squad.

Jesse Melvin Haugen, 41, of Cambridge, and Reis Melvin Grams, 40, of Lino Lakes, have been identified as the missing canoers. Erik Michael Grams, 43, of Ham Lake, was unharmed in the event, however Kyle Thomas Sellers, 47, of Ham Lake, was injured. At the campsite was found Cambridge resident Jared Jay Lohse, 33.

Among those trying to help the others was Haugen, who his friend Broc Vierzba regarded as a trustworthy man with military experience. According to a statement released by the Rescue Squad, friends, relatives, and a large circle of acquaintances are grieved by the unfortunate events.

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