Taking part in the annualSt. Clair River Float Down, in which people use inflatables todrunkenly float down theSt. Clair river (fromPort Huron lighthouse to Marysville), 1500 Americans got blown off course, right into Canada.
Apparently weather conditions weren’t exactly ideal for an end-of-summer float – with high winds blowing and a thunderstorm warning issued – but that didn’t deter the almost 4000 participants of theMichigan-basedfloat.
They took up their inflatables, a few of them put life jackets on, and they waded defiantly into the river. That’s about when things took a turn for the worse…
Those aforementioned “high winds” pushed 1500 of thefloat participants down the river, out of Michigan waters, and into Canadian territory. A numberof them got into difficulty (given that the water was so choppy), and the Canadian Coastguard had to mount a rescue.
A lot of people also apparently panicked that washing up on Canadian shores (drunk and passportless) might get them in trouble, and thereforeabandoned ship (inflatable), and desperately attempted to “swim back to the USA”.
Various officials – from not only the Canadian Coastguard, but also the Canadian Border Control and US Police – quickly responded, using boats to either pick up the stranded swimmers, or persuade them to get back on their rafts and paddle to Canada – reassuring them that they wouldn’t get into trouble, and would be bussed back to the US of A.
In fact,Sarnia Transit buses made 19 trips between Canada and Michigan, ferrying the stranded floaters back home. The Red Cross wason hand – giving out blankets to anyone who had to wait in the cold, and first aid to anyone who had sustained (albeit minor) injuries clambering out of the water.
Peter Garapick – who works for thesearch and rescue department ofthe Canadian Coast Guard – told Canada’s National News:
“Its pretty amazing how everybody came together, so many different agencies to have a very successful outcome.”
When asked about the cost of the (fairly extensive) rescue operation, he had only the following to say:
Whats the value when you can walk away from an event with 4,000 people, and everyones alive?”
What a nice guy.
Up next, check out what happened when we tried our hand at interviewing drunk people…
H/T and Image Credit: Canada National Post