Drunk Americans illegally float into Canada
Some 1,500 drifting revelers were rescued.
Illegally entering Canada and being rescued by the coast guard was not what the swimsuit-clad Americans who were swept into foreign waters on Sunday had in mind when they set off from Port Huron, Mich.
But that’s what happened to Ann Levere, who has spent many summer days in an inflatable raft on the St. Clair River bordering Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. The annual Port Huron Float Down, which draws cooler-toting revelers in colorful dinghies and inner tubes, is a tradition dating to the late ‘70s, and Levere has been a regular for nearly as long.
This year strong winds blew Levere eastward, separating her from her family. In an attempt to point her raft in the other direction, the 48-year-old grandmother slipped and fell into Canadian waters.
She wasn’t alone — some 1,500 river partygoers inadvertently drifted across the northern border, entering Canada without documentation on Sunday. Most had to be rescued through a massive effort from several Canadian agencies, then were returned to the United States by bus.
Others were given a lift back to the American side by friendly Canadians on the water.
After Levere tumbled into the river, a Canadian woman pulled her up onto her own raft. Together, they latched onto a Canadian freighter that towed them toward Port Huron. By the time Levere reached land, she had been on the water for nearly seven hours.
“They just made me feel so warm and comfortable,” she said of her rescuers in a phone interview with The Washington Post. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what would have happened to me.”
Other floaters were just as grateful for the neighborly assistance.
“God bless Canada!” a raucous group shouted in a Canadian Coast Guard video posted by the CBC.