Port Huron Float Down Resulted In 1,500 Americans Needing Rescued in Canada
An annual float trip in Port Huron ended up with 1,500 Americans crossing over to Canada and needing to be rescued.
Sunday the annual float trip along the St Clair River, known as Port Huron Float Down didn’t go quite as planned. It started off well, as a few thousand people jumped on inner tube, rafts, canoes and kayaks to float from Lighthouse beach in Port Huron down to Chrysler Beach in Marysville. The float started off around 1 p.m. with good weather for the annual trip.
As you can see in the video below, the river is quite wide
A few hours into their 4 hour journey (I don’t know really how long it was supposed to be..) the winds picked up and it started raining. Actually the wind was record at 10- 15 knots (which is about 11-18 miles an hour) with wind gust up to 31 miles an hour. So As the wind picked up, people started going over board and swimming to shore. A group of people, about 1,500, ended blowing across the river over into Canada and needing Canadian police and coast guard to come rescue them.
People who were rescued by the Canadian authorities were either towed back to America or if they had already landed on the beach in Sarnia Ont., they were put on transit buses and brought back across the border. Apparently when people realized they were in Canadian water and headed for Canadian shores, they freaked out thinking they’d be detained because they had been drinking and didn’t have passports or ids on them.
Peter Garapick of the Canadian Coast Guard told CBC News:
"They were terrified of entering another country without documentation. No one carries their passport or any ID, and a lot were drinking alcohol,"
They were so scared they actually tried to swim back across the river, which was WAY to dangerous for them
"We had to pull a lot of people out of the water and say 'no,'" he said. "They were very upset, cold and miserable,” Garapick said.
All in all everyone was lucky, there were only minor injuries reported and it appears no one drowned. Chances are this event will happen again next year, even though authorities and shipping captains wish this would be the last year.