Colorado man drowns after canoe capsizes in BWCA waters

A capsized canoe drowned a Colorado man visiting the BWCA on Monday.

According to a Tuesday morning release from the St. Louis County Sherriff’s Office, multiple rescue crews responded to a report of a water emergency in East Loon Bay, Loon Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness at 11:41 am on Monday.

County dispatch received a call from Canoe Country Outfitters in Ely saying that a canoe had capsized and two parties were in the water. One canoer made it to shore and one was missing.

73-year-old Wayne Morrow of Fort Lupton, Colordao and 63-year-old Denis Guenther of Grand Junction, Colorado were canoeing in East Loon Bay when they encountered heavy rain and winds due to a severe storm passing through the area. Their canoe capsized from a wave and they were thrown into the water.

Guenther was able to swim to shore with their gear, while Morrow remained with the canoe. When Guenther returned to the canoe, Morrow was missing.

Search efforts were conducted by the St. Louis County Rescue squad. Morrow was found submerged in 61 feet of water. Life jackets were accessible but were not used by Morrow and Guenther.

The incident is under investigation by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office and Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.