BWCA canoers search: National Guard ordered to help locate missing men

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has authorized the Minnesota National Guard to help with search efforts for two canoers that have been missing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) for nearly a week.

On May 18, four canoeists went over Curtain Falls inside the BWCA.

Early on May 19, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) helicopter rescued one injured individual and another uninjured person.

However, Reis Grams, 40, of Ham Lake and Jesse Haugen, 41, of Cambridge, currently remain missing.

"No one expects their vacation to turn into crisis. Yet, when four canoeists went over Curtain Falls in the BWCA, this became a reality," said Gov. Walz said in a statement on Thursday announcing the authorization of Emergency Executive Order 24-04. "My family is intimately familiar with the fear and heartbreak these canoeists are feeling."

According to the announcement, the Minnesota National Guard will provide a CH-47 (Chinook) helicopter and four crew members for the mission in the BWCA.

The mission is in response to a request for assistance from the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, the announcement says.

Search and rescue efforts were hampered earlier in the week due to storms and rain.

On Tuesday, FOX 9’s Paul Blume spoke with the wife of Reis Gram, who was holding onto hope and faith that her husband will come home safe.