Wife of missing BWCA canoeist holding onto hope after boating mishap

The wife of a Ham Lake canoeist missing in the far northern extremes of the state’s boundary waters is desperately holding onto hope and faith that her husband will come home safe.

"He is just a great, great man," said Angie Grams of husband Reis Grams. "I need him home because the world needs him to be here longer."

Unfortunately, on Tuesday, search and rescue efforts were again hampered by the weather, including steady rain and treacherous water conditions.

"They have scoured underwater near the falls, down at the end of the falls, and they have found absolutely nothing underwater," Angie Grams told FOX 9’s Paul Blume in a telephone interview from her family’s home. "So, they are feeling super positive at this moment that they might be on shore."

Reis Grams and his buddy Jesse Haugen of Cambridge got caught up in a life-and-death situation Sunday evening on Iron Lake along the US-Canadian border.

The pair was paddling with two others in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) when something went horribly wrong. There was a struggle and an attempt to assist one another when the two canoes went over Curtain Falls. 

Emergency crews eventually rescued and evacuated two members of the canoeing party, including Reis’ brother, Erik Grams.

"Erik said he was immediately swept under water," Angie Grams told Blume. "He said he was swimming ‘to the light.’ And then he was able to gasp for air. But then he was sucked back under and he was washed ashore and he was able to locate some nearby campers that came to help."

As for Grams and Haugen, they have not been seen or heard from since.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s office reported their search efforts were grounded again Tuesday because of dangerous conditions. Angie Grams is asking for prayers as she waits.

"He would want every single person that has ever believed in God ever to just start praying right now," said Angie Grams. "And he [Reis] knows that is the only way he is getting out of there."

The Sheriff’s office reports they do have some searchers, camping out, taking cover with their eyes on the area in case the two missing men emerge from the vast wilderness. Emergency crews are hoping for some easing in the conditions, perhaps late Wednesday to get back to a full search effort.

"It is complete wilderness. The sheriff did say that once they can get a little bit more of a clearing with the weather that they are going to hopefully bring in some search dogs," Grams said.