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Grizzlyman
distinguished member(790)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/19/2024 02:27PM  
Not a lot of info. But a friend of a friend. Curtain falls area. Downstream from the falls- seems they went over. Went missing. Found partner he was with. However He is missing still. . Name is Reis. If you are in the area please consider helping. Search and rescue is at it as well I believe. I’m sure there’ll be more updates as this goes on.
 
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05/19/2024 03:25PM  
It is on facebook, I did a web search and found nothing.
 
05/19/2024 04:34PM  
Oh my goodness, very sad. I can’t imagine what his friend and family are going through.

T
 
Portage99
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/19/2024 05:22PM  
Story

Really sad. This must be the group. I hate to hear things like this.
 
bwcalove2
  
05/19/2024 05:47PM  
It is and there are also news articles coming out now
 
bwcalove2
  
05/19/2024 05:47PM  
There are two men missing.
Two canoes, four men. Two found.
Reis and Jesse are still missing.
 
Portage99
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/19/2024 06:06PM  
bwcalove2: "There are two men missing.
Two canoes, four men. Two found.
Reis and Jesse are still missing."


Keeping everyone involved in my thoughts!
 
05/19/2024 07:56PM  
When I flipped there I was surprised at how fast the current took me out away from shore. I was lucky to have another paddler close and he cut a chunk of my painter and drug me to shore… I lost my ability to help myself much. Couldn’t stand up right away. Not sure what the water temps are now…
My prayers are with all involved….
 
05/19/2024 08:23PM  
Currents are real strong in the Crooked Lake area as of now.

another sad day
 
05/19/2024 08:28PM  
Duluth newspaper:
BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA WILDERNESS — The St. Louis County Rescue Squad is searching for two missing canoeists Sunday after two canoes went over Curtain Falls on Saturday evening.

The water emergency began around 7:21 p.m. according to a report from the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office. Two canoes containing four individuals went over the falls, leaving one injured, one uninjured and two missing.

Two of the party were extracted from near Iron Lake around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The injured individual was flown to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Search efforts for the two missing individuals resumed Sunday, led by the St. Louis County Rescue Squad with assistance from the Virginia Fire Department, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and North Air Care.

 
Portage99
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/19/2024 09:28PM  
Closures to allow search and rescue.

Iron lake area closures
 
05/20/2024 08:26AM  
From a friend of Reis Grams on Facebook:

"He and his friend were in one canoe and his brother and another guy were in a different canoe. They were fishing and saved a different canoeist from going over the falls and in turn, both their canoes went over. His brother and the other guy were airlifted out. Reis and his friend are still missing."

 
JohnGalt
distinguished member (421)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/20/2024 12:53PM  
plmn: "From a friend of Reis Grams on Facebook:
"He and his friend were in one canoe and his brother and another guy were in a different canoe. They were fishing and saved a different canoeist from going over the falls and in turn, both their canoes went over. His brother and the other guy were airlifted out. Reis and his friend are still missing." "


Events such as this are never easy to accept though there is solace in knowing that, while hopefully not though likely at this point, their final act was a noble one.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14435)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
  
05/20/2024 01:34PM  
Sad story, prayers sent for all involved.
 
05/20/2024 02:16PM  
Hoping for good news...
 
BWCA
Administrator
  
05/20/2024 02:26PM  
Message we received:

" Tonight, there will be a prayer service held for Reis and Jesse at Eagle Brook Church - Ham Lake campus from 7pm - 8pm - all are welcome to come pray that they would be found. If you are available to be present for this time of prayer, that would be greatly appreciated by the Gram and Haugen family.

The address 1503 157th Ave NE, Ham Lake, MN 55304"
 
PaddlingGMa
  
05/20/2024 09:08PM  
Hoping for a miracle, prayers for all.
 
05/20/2024 10:10PM  
 
WesternHills
senior member (62)senior membersenior member
  
05/21/2024 08:21AM  
This is devastating. I don't know either of the two men, but I spent the last 30 minutes looking at the Facebook pages for both of them. They both appear to be very capable and competent men in the prime of their lives, and both well acquainted with the outdoors. My thoughts and definitely my prayers will be with them and their beautiful families.
 
05/21/2024 08:49AM  
WesternHills: "This is devastating. I don't know either of the two men, but I spent the last 30 minutes looking at the Facebook pages for both of them. They both appear to be very capable and competent men in the prime of their lives, and both well acquainted with the outdoors. My thoughts and definitely my prayers will be with them and their beautiful families."


I did the same thing and it really made it hit home.

Very sad start to the season. Be careful out there.
 
05/21/2024 11:47AM  
This situation is so terribly sad. My thoughts and prayers to all who are close to all 4 of the men involved.
 
05/21/2024 11:54AM  
Makes me sick to think about it. I saw it on the news yesterday and they interviewed I believe Reis's wife. It's just horrible. They were very selfless trying to rescue another canoer.

T
 
OldGuide2
distinguished member (128)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/21/2024 12:09PM  
Add my prayers to family and friends to the prayers of others. The current there can be treacherous, especially in the spring and with cold water.
 
Findian
member (34)member
  
05/21/2024 01:41PM  
Prayers sent!! There are a lot of great people up there looking for the missing. St Louis county 1st responders and law enforcement were pulled from the Duluth air show Sunday and sent in. Many of my friends are still up there looking. Many were flown in by one of my pilot friends in his 185-float plane. He does not work for the forest service but has a reputation for knowing the area and being a great Bush Pilot.

God Speed
 
Someday
member (41)member
  
05/21/2024 01:44PM  
MPR
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(2965)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/21/2024 02:04PM  
It is indeed very sad and very tragic. Gutwrenching.
It's only May.
My condolences to the family and friends of those that perished.
Camping out there when you know people are searching for deceased campes can change the mood of the trip.

I was on basswood some years ago when a pesky helicopter kept buzzing over me throughout a day. I was angry and curious.
Not until I returned did I hear that they were searching for a drowned canoeist
Tom
 
05/21/2024 03:58PM  
I'm curious of the border logistics of this rescue/recovery. Does Curtain Falls straddle the border? If so what are the considerations regarding the operation to recover the bodies? I have not heard of any response from the Canadian side.

If I have that wrong and it's entirely within the US, I'm still wondering - theoretically - how a search and rescue operation is managed when the victims could be in either country when there's an accident straddling the border.
 
MinnesotaJenny
member (27)member
  
05/21/2024 04:14PM  
Where’s the best news source for updates on these men? Were they wearing pfd’s? Then even if their head got banged up they would float to the surface then be very very cold and it will come down to what they were wearing and weather
 
05/21/2024 04:45PM  
MinnesotaJenny: "Where’s the best news source for updates on these men? Were they wearing pfd’s? Then even if their head got banged up they would float to the surface then be very very cold and it will come down to what they were wearing and weather "


Right now search appears to be focused on the likelihood that their bodies are trapped underwater at the base of the falls. And the MPR link further up this message chain has current info.
 
05/22/2024 11:10AM  
I keep thinking back to something incredibly stupid that I did as a teenager. We took our grummans, strapped on life jackets, and shot a small waterfall on purpose. We were, of course, instantly ripped out of the canoe and shoved underwater. I still remember how shockingly hard it was to get back to the surface, even with lifejackets and even though I was strong and on our HS swim team.

We were so stupid, and I feel very lucky to be alive.

This is very different situation of course, and these guys were not being stupid, they didn't go over Curtain Falls on purpose. Just a first hand account of how powerful the undertow is at the base of even a small falls.
 
gravelroad
distinguished member(1017)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/22/2024 12:50PM  
Argo: "I'm curious of the border logistics of this rescue/recovery. Does Curtain Falls straddle the border? If so what are the considerations regarding the operation to recover the bodies? I have not heard of any response from the Canadian side.


If I have that wrong and it's entirely within the US, I'm still wondering - theoretically - how a search and rescue operation is managed when the victims could be in either country when there's an accident straddling the border."


It was pretty much ignored when I was part of a search in the 90s for a young girl who walked away from a cabin on Gunflint Lake. We knew she was headed toward the east end of the lake. What we didn’t know is that she would follow the Canadian shore to a cabin on that side. Which was occupied, fortunately. :-)

I suspect there’s a little more behind-the-scenes coordination these days. Including the exploitation of the Border Patrol sensors …
 
Portage99
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/22/2024 12:56PM  
MinnesotaJenny: "Where’s the best news source for updates on these men? Were they wearing pfd’s? Then even if their head got banged up they would float to the surface then be very very cold and it will come down to what they were wearing and weather
"


I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think this is accurate. There are keepers And also a lot of debris that can trap people.
 
kjw
distinguished member (116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/22/2024 03:20PM  
MinnesotaJenny: "Where’s the best news source for updates on these men? Were they wearing pfd’s? Then even if their head got banged up they would float to the surface then be very very cold and it will come down to what they were wearing and weather "


I watched interview with the wife. She holds out hope because their life jackets were not found which means they were wearing them. They are probably trapped underwater with their life jackets on. That is going to be tough search if they didn’t make it to bottom of falls. Don’t know how you would search the crevices going down the falls. Maybe string a long/large cable across the falls and try to utilize that somehow. Very difficult recovery operation.
 
05/23/2024 12:21PM  
At the bottom of this article there is a 15 minute recorded interview with Rick Slatten, Captain of the St Louis County Rescue Squad, recorded Tuesday night. Paddle and Portage Rescue Squad interview

My deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of these two missing men.
 
benharty81
member (10)member
  
05/23/2024 12:35PM  
What direction is the water flowing? Into Iron or into Crooked?
 
05/23/2024 01:16PM  
benharty81: "What direction is the water flowing? Into Iron or into Crooked? "


Into Iron.
 
Findian
member (34)member
  
05/23/2024 09:17PM  
From St Louis SAR Rooster studies the CH-47 Chinook as it passes near Base Camp. Pilot Zack and his team of Kenyon, Tyler, and Tucker did a magnificent job gently delivering our jet boat to a nearby Landing Zone (LZ). Six aircraft participated in a huge blitz of sorties today. Twelve members are spiked out below Curtain Falls, and with weather coming we’ll likely be here through Saturday. The search continues… Droz photo)
 
05/24/2024 07:33AM  
Argo: "I'm curious of the border logistics of this rescue/recovery. Does Curtain Falls straddle the border? If so what are the considerations regarding the operation to recover the bodies? I have not heard of any response from the Canadian side.


If I have that wrong and it's entirely within the US, I'm still wondering - theoretically - how a search and rescue operation is managed when the victims could be in either country when there's an accident straddling the border."


I didn’t see anyone respond…Curtain Falls straddles the border. The portage on the US is a shared portage under the Webster-Ahsburton Treaty.

None of the stories say anything about a Canadian Response. My guess is the Canadians just bowed out and let the US handle it since they are US citizens. Probably just easier to involve one response. We have good relations, doubt the Canadians are worried about border issues in this particular case. But I do find it strange nothing is mentioned as Canadian territory is likely involved. Probably all behind the scenes or media hasn’t reported it.

T
 
whyzata
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
  
05/25/2024 01:40AM  
Were the canoes found and if so how far down river? Also, were they fully loaded with gear or out fishing with a light load? How are trippers getting through if campsites are closed and portages closed? What a tragedy for all involved. Many,many people have been affected by this very unfortunate event. Prayers and thoughts every day.
 
Findian
member (34)member
  
05/25/2024 05:07AM  
A big thanks to all involved in the recue/recovery. We know you are giving up Family Memorial weekend traditions. Godspeed to all involved.
 
05/25/2024 09:31AM  
Findian: " A big thanks to all involved in the recue/recovery. We know you are giving up Family Memorial weekend traditions. Godspeed to all involved."


Yes big thanks for all those doing the recovery and the original rescue. We are about a week out now trying to give the family some closure.

T
 
05/25/2024 01:33PM  
Findian: " A big thanks to all involved in the recue/recovery. We know you are giving up Family Memorial weekend traditions. Godspeed to all involved."


Wow, thanks for the visual. What a challenging area for search or recovery.
 
Findian
member (34)member
  
05/26/2024 06:34AM  
BWPaddler your comment made me realize not everyone can visualize Curtain Falls. I took none of these pictures and posted for readers prospective only.
 
05/26/2024 10:38AM  





Some more curtain falls photos. It’s dangerous.
 
schweady
distinguished member(8091)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
05/26/2024 12:27PM  
Yeah, it's only a drop of 25-30 ft, but maybe 200 ft wide and drains a ton of water, especially this time of year.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(2965)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/26/2024 02:23PM  
It’s also hard to gauge the volume of water flowing over the falls and the swift current. As mentioned, it’s a huge volume of water.

There is quite a bit of pull from the current above the falls as anyone that’s been near them can attest. Even at 50’ before the drop, the current is taking you in.

I sure hope those men are found soon.

I lost a friend in 1992 due to drowning and they didn’t find him for three weeks. But he was found. It was so hard on the family. There is some biology that will bring them to the surface at some point.

Tom
 
05/27/2024 07:40PM  
Thanks Findian and jwartman59.

 
nmillette
member (33)member
  
05/31/2024 03:32PM  
It has been reported by the St. Louis County Rescue Squad that one of the paddlers' body has been recovered today. A sad ending, but at least the family now has closure.
 
Someday
member (41)member
  
05/31/2024 04:56PM  
nmillette: "It has been reported by the St. Louis County Rescue Squad that one of the paddlers' body has been recovered today. A sad ending, but at least the family now has closure."


RIP
 
05/31/2024 04:56PM  
nmillette: "It has been reported by the St. Louis County Rescue Squad that one of the paddlers' body has been recovered today. A sad ending, but at least the family now has closure."


Here is what I found.
 
ManitouMan
member (7)member
  
06/03/2024 06:21PM  
Podcast today on KFAN, Paul Allen, with Erik Grams, whose brother is still missing.

https://kfan.iheart.com/featured/allen-s-page/tab/podcasts/
 
06/03/2024 06:37PM  
ManitouMan: "Podcast today on KFAN, Paul Allen, with Erik Grams, whose brother is still missing.


https://kfan.iheart.com/featured/allen-s-page/tab/podcasts/"
podcast
 
06/03/2024 07:09PM  
Reis Grams body was recovered today, as posted by the rescue squad and the sheriffs office on Facebook. Hopefully it will bring his family some closure after a long couple of weeks. RIP fellow paddler.
 
06/03/2024 07:39PM  
naturboy12: "Reis Grams body was recovered today, as posted by the rescue squad and the sheriffs office on Facebook. Hopefully it will bring his family some closure after a long couple of weeks. RIP fellow paddler. "


Although we all knew the likely outcome, this just broke my heart.

Part of it I think was the relentless dedication of the crew to find him.
 
OMGitsKa
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/03/2024 07:45PM  
Have to wonder if life jackets would have made any difference here. Sad story to hear him tell the story of how it all went down, guy was able to swim and walk down the shore with a broken pelvis.... RIP.
 
ManitouMan
member (7)member
  
06/03/2024 08:12PM  
It's such a remote, beautiful, special place to so many. In 2003, I was there with my son. Another group was there spreading the ashes of a loved one into the water per the deceased's request.
 
kjw
distinguished member (116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/03/2024 08:20PM  
I think life jackets would have made a difference provided they are secured on properly and don’t go straight up off your body. The life jackets would have provided some padding going down the falls, extra warmth for the cold water and if you are not knocked out extra buoyancy to help you swim to keep your head above water even if you get into area where Curtain Falls is trying to suck you under.
 
Portage99
distinguished member(609)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/03/2024 09:48PM  
Pinetree: "
ManitouMan: "Podcast today on KFAN, Paul Allen, with Erik Grams, whose brother is still missing.



https://kfan.iheart.com/featured/allen-s-page/tab/podcasts/"
podcast "


Hard to listen to such a great trip ending in tragedy. I feel for him. A touching tribute to his brother and friend. A long history with this area. Healing thoughts for everyone involved. I’m not sure who Tony is but what a life saver. Lots of heroes here.
 
Digger07
member (35)member
  
06/03/2024 10:09PM  
Rest peacefully Reis.
 
06/04/2024 08:33AM  
kjw: "I think life jackets would have made a difference provided they are secured on properly and don’t go straight up off your body. The life jackets would have provided some padding going down the falls, extra warmth for the cold water and if you are not knocked out extra buoyancy to help you swim to keep your head above water even if you get into area where Curtain Falls is trying to suck you under. "


I believe it was stated earlier that both were wearing their life jackets, or at least very likely to have been wearing them because the lifejackets were not found. That doesn't stop you from getting pinned under the falls.

I believe this is a case where they did everything right and just went over the falls because they were trying to help someone else. From what I've heard, the only thing they could have done differently is to not help out.
 
IloveMN
  
06/04/2024 09:09AM  
R.I.P Reis
I pray heaven surrounds you with utmost grace and peace.
 
06/04/2024 09:34AM  
OMGitsKa: "Have to wonder if life jackets would have made any difference here. Sad story to hear him tell the story of how it all went down, guy was able to swim and walk down the shore with a broken pelvis.... RIP. "


Nothing is certain, but lifejackets definitely would have helped their chances. Even if they had gotten knocked out at least help would have been able to get to them.

Very sad. Be safe out there.
 
RatherbeDuffing
senior member (59)senior membersenior member
  
06/04/2024 11:04AM  
plmn: "
OMGitsKa: "Have to wonder if life jackets would have made any difference here. Sad story to hear him tell the story of how it all went down, guy was able to swim and walk down the shore with a broken pelvis.... RIP. "



Nothing is certain, but lifejackets definitely would have helped their chances. Even if they had gotten knocked out at least help would have been able to get to them.


Very sad. Be safe out there. "


Not necessarily... Probably a lot of snags in and around the falls. Life jackets can get snagged in that scenario. Not saying it did here, but I don't think you can definitely say they would have helped..
 
06/04/2024 11:20AM  
A1t2o: "
kjw: "I think life jackets would have made a difference provided they are secured on properly and don’t go straight up off your body. The life jackets would have provided some padding going down the falls, extra warmth for the cold water and if you are not knocked out extra buoyancy to help you swim to keep your head above water even if you get into area where Curtain Falls is trying to suck you under. "



I believe it was stated earlier that both were wearing their life jackets, or at least very likely to have been wearing them because the lifejackets were not found. That doesn't stop you from getting pinned under the falls.


I believe this is a case where they did everything right and just went over the falls because they were trying to help someone else. From what I've heard, the only thing they could have done differently is to not help out."


According to the surviving brother (Erik) in the podcast linked above, none of them were wearing life jackets at the time of the incident. The canoe with the Gram brothers in it went to help the other canoe with their friends in it that had already capsized. The story told directly by Erik is heart wrenching. The additional pair in the canoe who aided in the rescue of the two survivors after they went a ways downriver truly saved two lives that day.
 
06/04/2024 11:59AM  
RatherbeDuffing: "
plmn: "
OMGitsKa: "Have to wonder if life jackets would have made any difference here. Sad story to hear him tell the story of how it all went down, guy was able to swim and walk down the shore with a broken pelvis.... RIP. "


Nothing is certain, but lifejackets definitely would have helped their chances. Even if they had gotten knocked out at least help would have been able to get to them.

Very sad. Be safe out there. "


Not necessarily... Probably a lot of snags in and around the falls. Life jackets can get snagged in that scenario. Not saying it did here, but I don't think you can definitely say they would have helped.."


I did say nothing is certain, but will maintain that the odds are considerably better with a lifejacket than without. I think there is a mountain of evidence to back that up. Kind of like how in certain rare situations you may be better off not wearing a seat belt, but usually a seat belt is safer.

I thought the incident from years ago that Paul mentioned in the podcast was interesting. He wore boots and jeans in a canoe and when it capsized he nearly drowned despite being a good swimmer. A few years back a college swim instructor tried swimming across the Red River in Fargo, which doesn't appear to be intimidating, and ended up drowning. It can happen to anybody.

In any case, Reis's brother Erik who also went over has said he wanted to make sure people knew they should have been wearing them.

I'm not saying this to sound preachy or arrogant and debated not saying anything at all because I don't want it come off that way. But I think it's an important message and I hope people heed it.
 
06/04/2024 04:42PM  
Sad news. The bodies of both men have been recovered and are on their way home.
https://www.facebook.com/SLCRescue
 
06/04/2024 04:59PM  
A1t2o: "
kjw: "I think life jackets would have made a difference provided they are secured on properly and don’t go straight up off your body. The life jackets would have provided some padding going down the falls, extra warmth for the cold water and if you are not knocked out extra buoyancy to help you swim to keep your head above water even if you get into area where Curtain Falls is trying to suck you under. "



I believe it was stated earlier that both were wearing their life jackets, or at least very likely to have been wearing them because the lifejackets were not found. That doesn't stop you from getting pinned under the falls.


I believe this is a case where they did everything right and just went over the falls because they were trying to help someone else. From what I've heard, the only thing they could have done differently is to not help out."


Sorry if this is redundant, but it was confirmed they were not wearing life vests and one of the survivors (Reis’s brother) said this was something they should have done. No way to know for sure if they would have helped, but they certainly wouldn’t have hurt. Sometimes just more padding might help survival…or if knocked unconscious they can keep your head up instead of sinking and drowning. Hypothermia also set up very quickly. PVD can add insulation. I bring the life jacket up to make people think, not to preach. I haven’t done everything perfect in life either, just lucky sometimes.

You are correct though not helping would have saved their lives, but according to Reis’s brother that was never an option they would accept and I can respect that.


T

 
06/04/2024 05:06PM  
Here is are two links with a bit more information about the second body found

second body found near Curtain Falls - Ely Echo

From WTIP
 
06/04/2024 05:15PM  
A1t2o: "
kjw:


I believe this is a case where they did everything right and just went over the falls because they were trying to help someone else. From what I've heard, the only thing they could have done differently is to not help out."


I've done a fair share of rescue training via the Red Cross and in virtually every situation the training stresses to assess the safety of the situation first. I know that it isn't always easy, especially in light of rapid water. Such a tragedy.
 
MinnesotaJenny
member (27)member
  
06/06/2024 08:56PM  
Sometimes if the water is flowing fast enough it will pull you al the way under water even with your life jacket if it’s going fast enough. It was not at Curtain Falls but I got sucked under water once and got tumbled all around under the water and I remember desperately reaching for anything a tree root something it was terrifying and exhausting. And the scariest part almost was that it happened so fast that my friends didn’t see and didn’t know where I was until I crawled out and hiked back. The only way is to fish somewhere else and just do not get ever get too close to fast flowing water.
 
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