Gov. Walz authorizes National Guard to help with BWCA search

Gov. Tim Walz authorized the Minnesota National Guard to bring equipment that will help St. Louis County and other authorities in their search for two missing canoeists in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The Guard will provide a CH-47 (Chinook) helicopter and four crew members for the mission in the BWCA. The crew has been requested to provide lift assets to transport a boat and additional equipment from the Ely airport to the area where two Minnesotans went missing.

The governor’s office said St. Louis County Sheriff Gordon Ramsay requested the help.

“No one expects their vacation to turn to crisis. Yet, when four canoeists went over Curtain Falls in the BWCA, this became a reality,” Walz said in a press release. “My family is intimately familiar with the fear and heartbreak these canoeists are feeling. We are praying for those involved and immensely grateful to everyone from the Sheriff’s office to the National Guard who are supporting this mission.”

There were five people in the group. Four went over Curtain Falls in two canoes. Two have not been found, one was badly injured, one was unharmed, and the fifth was back at their campsite.

The missing have been identified as Jesse Melvin Haugen, 41, from Cambridge, Minn. and Reis Melvin Grams, 40, from Lino Lakes, Minn.