MN officials identify missing canoeists in BWCA as search continues

Despite tough conditions, authorities in St. Louis County say search efforts are continuing on Monday for two missing canoeists in northern Minnesota.

The missing men, identified as Reis Grams, 40, of Lino Lakes and Jesse Haugen, 41, of Cambridge, were swept away after two canoes went over Curtain Falls in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on Saturday night.

911 calls for the water emergency came in around 7:21 p.m. on Saturday, after two canoes went over Curtain Falls.

Curtain Falls flows from Crooked Lake into Iron Lake, along the United States-Canada border. It is an extremely remote part of the Boundary Waters, miles away from the nearest roads.

Three other men who were part of the group have been rescued during efforts this weekend. Kyle Sellers, 47, of Ham Lake was rushed to a hospital for treatment. Erik Grams, 43, of Ham Lake and Jared Lohse, 33, of Cambridge were also flown out of the wilderness area.

Deputies say the search operation is continuing on Monday, despite difficult conditions.

"Rapid water conditions are making for difficult searching conditions, however crews on the group continue to push forward to continue the search area and expand it as needed," wrote the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office on Monday.

Crews are using drones and remote-operated vehicles to aid with search efforts on Monday.

"I believe it’s probably shifting to more of a recovery [effort], due to the time that’s passed." St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office division commander Nate Skelton said.

Over the weekend, two of the four canoeists -- and a third man on land -- were found and airlifted out of the wilderness. They are 47-year-old Kyle Sellers, 43-year-old Erik Grams of Ham Lake , and 33-year-old Jared Lohse of Cambridge. According to law enforcement, the two canoeists were able to find their way to the shore, find each other, and call for help.

"The group that did go up there was quite experienced, they had been there before, and knew about it and were comfortable in the area," Skelton said.

Meanwhile, crews are using remote controlled search vehicles, as they search for 40-year-old Reese Grams of Lino Lakes and 41-year-old Jesse Haugen of Cambridge.

Gram’s wife Angie tells FOX 9, searchers have recovered canoes, shoes, and a fishing bucket.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Air Rescue Team, Virginia Fire, North Air Care, and the U.S. Forest Service have assisted with the operation.