Search efforts continue in Curtain Falls, conditions remain challenging

Update as of 5/28/24: The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday that they are continuing search efforts with the St. Louis County Rescue Squad in Curtain Falls for the missing canoeists.

“Conditions for searching remain very challenging due to water volume in and around the falls,” explained a social media post for the Sheriff’s Office. “Crews have been working tirelessly over the weekend and will continue to do so moving forward through the end of the week.”

The office said additional updates will be forthcoming as they become available.

Original Story: Search crews have set up camp in the Boundary Waters, expecting to spend the weekend continuing the search for two missing canoeists.

Jesse Melvin Haugen, 41, from Cambridge, Minn. and Reis Melvin Grams, 40, from Lino Lakes, Minn. have been gone since two canoes went over Curtain Falls on May 18.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office says efforts are difficult due to the weather, a rise in water levels, and the current in the search area. Over a dozen crew members are on the ground, and several others are working in the air and at command posts.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s office and St. Louis County Rescue Squad had “an influx of assistance” from the Minnesota National Guard, Ely Fire Department, Ely Police Department, Minnesota DNR, US Forest Service, and Anderson Canoe Outfitters.

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With better weather Thursday, they brought in both personnel and equipment like boats (Zodiacs and Canoes), Sonar, ROV’s, drones, and dogs.

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A badly injured canoeist, a 47-year-old from Ham Lake, Minn., and an uninjured one, a 43-year-old also from Ham Lake were airlifted out. The injured individual was flown to Essentia Duluth with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Another member of their group, a 33-year-old from Cambridge, Minn., was back at their campsite.