SARNIA, Ontario, Aug. 23 (UPI) — Strong winds blew about 1,500 American illegally across the Canadian border during the annual Port Huron Float Down on Sunday, creating problems for law enforcement on both side of the St. Clair River.
Participants in dinghies were blown from the American side of the St. Clair River, north east of Detroit, Mich. across the Canadian side of the river and onto the shores of Sarnia, Ontario, where many of the Americans found themselves without passports or the ability to get home on their own.
“They were pushed over pretty quickly, and because they had no control over these dinghies and the wind was basically directing them and the current, they ended up over here,” Sarnia Police Const. John Sottosanti told the CTV Television Network.
Though a few of dinghies had paddles to get themselves back across the border, “others tied numerous dinghies together to try and keep together and hopefully move as one, but they were not successful at all,” Sottosanti said.
Gabrielle Satryb, 16, and her friends got inventive when they were found across the river without a paddle.
“Instead of waiting around we decided to use some muscle and get ourselves back. I jumped in the water with a life jacket and swam holding the rafts while my friend, Zach Howe, was in a kayak paddling.”
Satryb said it took about an hour to get back across the river.
Others were less fortunate, requiring local police coast guard and border security officers in the United States and Canada to get the Americans back to Michigan.
Over six hours on Sunday, Sarnia Transit buses shuttled 19 loads of American boaters back across the border.