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Minnesota National Guard now aiding in search for missing canoeists in Boundary Waters

Wife of canoeist missing in BWCA trying to stay positive
Wife of canoeist missing in BWCA trying to stay positive 02:22

BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA WILDERNESS, Minn. — The Minnesota National Guard is joining the efforts to find two missing canoeists in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday that four crew members and a helicopter from the guard will head to northern Minnesota to help transport equipment for the search.

Two canoes went over Curtain Falls, which is right on the Canadian border, on Saturday, according to the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office. Two canoeists were rescued — one of them badly injured, but expected to survive — but two more have yet to be found. 

"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. "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."

Officials have identified the two missing canoeists as 40-year-old Reis Grams of Lino Lakes and 41-year-old Jesse Haugen of Cambridge. 

Earlier this week, parts of the BWCA — including Iron Lake and part of Crooked Lake — were closed as officials searched for the missing canoeists.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office requested the Minnesota National Guard's assistance, Walz said. 

Angie Grams, Reis Grams' wife, says that for now, no news is good news.

"Unfortunately, or fortunately, we have nothing," she said. "So we kind of look at that as a positive because we just keep feeling like if we're not finding anything in the water then they have to be on land."

Reis Grams and his family Angie Grams

As the search grows longer every minute, Angie Grams credits her friends, family and faith in staying strong for their two boys.

"We have people praying literally across this whole continent fates basically for my family and Reis and Jesse. And we just... that is what's getting me through right now," Angie Grams said.

It's a situation that hits home for Walz, whose younger brother was killed during a storm in the Boundary Waters in 2016.

"Governor Walz, I have to say thank you to him for approving this. It is unbelievable the amount of resources that are in there today," Angie Grams said.

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