Boaters safe after ordeal
On Thursday at 5:15 a.m., the Rainy River District OPP detachment received a report of three overdue boaters.
Three males, all from Fort Frances, were said to have set out from the Sorting Gap Marina on July 11 around 5:30 p.m., but failed to return home as expected that night.
As such, family members became concerned for their safety when they failed to return home and realized that the men had left their cellphones behind.
The families then called police to report the men missing.
The OPP began the process of investigating and confirmed the vessel owner’s pickup truck and trailer still were parked at the Sorting Gap Marina.
Police then consulted with Canada Border Services, the U.S. Border Patrol, Koochiching County Sheriff’s Department, and Voyageurs National Park Service to help confirm the men had stated their intention was travel by vessel into the U.S.
Officers confirmed the men were observed at a lakeside restaurant on the Minnesota side of Rainy Lake around 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday, left the establishment by vessel, but had not reported back to the Canadian Border Service.
As a result, a marine patrol was conducted by several enforcement agencies from both Canada and the U.S. to search for the men.
Around 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, the OPP located the males safe and sound at a residence on Couchiching First Nation.
Police learned the three males had left the restaurant and proceeded to an area on Rainy Lake north of the Noden Causeway, but had struck a reef resulting in water coming onboard.
They were able to get the vessel to an island before the boat became full of water, resulting in the three having to stay on the island overnight.
In the morning, they flagged down a passing vessel to help them return to the mainland, where they called home to report they were all right.
Police remind all vessel operators to ensure they set a planned travel itinerary and tell someone what the intended destination will be, the planned route, and what time the vessel is expected to be off the water.
If there is any deviation from that plan, police ask vessel operators be sure to update the itinerary.
The OPP wishes to thank the above agencies for their assistance, as well as Larry Armstrong of Fort Frances for his assistance in the marine search.