Body of second canoeist recovered in Boundary Waters

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The body of the second victim of a canoeing accident in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was found Monday morning.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office said the body of Reis Melvin Grams, 40, of Lino Lakes, Minn., was discovered at about 10 a.m.

Grams and canoeist Jesse Melvin Haugen, 41, of Cambridge, Minn., were canoeing in the area of Curtain Falls between Iron and Crooked lakes when they disappeared May 18. Two other members of the party were rescued. Haugen’s body was recovered May 31.

The all-volunteer St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office Rescue Squad was using airborne drones and remotely operated underwater vehicles in addition to divers, cadaver dogs and other resources in the search along the Ontario border where Crooked Lake flows into Iron Lake, far from the nearest road or developed area.

High, fast-moving water after recent rains hampered the search that involved dozens of personnel, boats and aircraft. Part of the BWCAW has been closed to accommodate the search effort. Gram’s body was flown from the scene to the Ely seaplane base.

Most paddlers consider Curtain Falls too dangerous to attempt to paddle through, instead opting to use a land portage to carry canoes and gear around the falls. Several other incidents have happened at the site over the years.

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