Coast guard issues warning about aquatic event on St Clair River on Sunday

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PORT HURON, Mich. — The Canadian Coast Guard and its American counterpart are issuing a joint warning for people not to take part in the annual Port Huron float down on the St Clair River between Ontario and Michigan. 

The American event on Sunday involves people floating down the river on rafts.

But the Canadian and American coast guards issued a joint letter on Saturday warning of the risks to people who are taking part.

The letter cites factors including a fast moving current, a large number of participants, a lack of lifejackets, water temperature, and limited rescue resources.

It says those conditions can result in serious injuries or fatalities.

It points out that last year high winds and a heavy downpour led to some 1500 participants inadvertently landing on the Canadian side around Sarnia.

“Leaving them stranded, subject to Canadian and U.S. border security and, often without identification, money and means of communication. Some had injuries and were suffering from hypothermia,” the letter said.

It also said in 2014 a 19-year-old swimmer drowned during the event.

“This is an inherently dangerous activity, especially for minors,” the letter states.

“As first responders, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard recommend that people do not take part in this event.”

The event”s web page says the first float down was held in 1977.

 

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