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Posted: August 23, 2016

1,500 Americans accidentally end up in Canada during float trip

By Lauren Stephenson

About 1,500 Americans learned the effects of high winds the hard way during an annual event in Michigan.

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Hundreds of people got on their favorite floats with their favorite drinks on Sunday to float down the St. Clair River. The rafters planned to float from Port Huron, Michigan, to Marysville, Michigan, for the annual Port Huron Float Down.

Beginning at lighthouse beach

Posted by Kathy Docherty-Denny on Sunday, August 21, 2016

Instead, they ended up across the river in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

"They were pushed over pretty quickly, and because they had no control over these dinghies and the wind was basically directing them and the current, they ended up over here," Sarnia Police Constable John Sottosanti told CTV Network.

The Canadian Coast Guard, local law enforcement officials and the Canadian Red Cross sprung into action, rescuing stranded floaters and getting medical attention for those who needed it. 

Some local oil refinery and chemical company workers pitched in to help too.

Canadian authorities transported 19 busloads of Americans to United States Customs and Border Patrol on the U.S. side before they issused an admonishment.

"The Port Huron Float Down event has no official organizer and poses significant and unusual hazards given the fast-moving current, large number of participants, lack of life jackets, and as was the case this year, very challenging weather conditions," said Carol Launderville, spokesperson for the Canadian Coast Guard on the Great Lakes in a statement.

According to local police, everyone was accounted for and there were only minor injuries.

"Everybody got home safe and sound," Sottosanti said.

The Port Huron Float Down, which has no official organizers, posted a message on its Facebook page, thanking Canadian authorities.

"You've shown us true kindness and what it means to be amazing neighbors," the post said.

We want to express our gratitude to the Canadian Authorities for their assistance and understanding with the floaters...

Posted by Port Huron Float Down on Sunday, August 21, 2016


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