Canoeists rescued from PM River.

June 16, 2015

pere marquette river signBy Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

BRANCH TOWNSHIP — A 44-year-old father and his 15-year-old son were rescued from the Pere Marquette River Tuesday afternoon after the canoe they were in capsized. The Leo, Indiana residents were guests at Barothy Lodge and had rented a canoe, according to Branch Township Fire Chief Steve McVicker.

They headed down river about a quarter mile from the launch when they came around a bend and struck a tree lying across the river, causing their canoe to capsize and then sink, according to Mason County Sheriff’s marine patrol deputy Mike Fort. While they were able to hold onto a log in the water, they were not able to get out.

Branch Township Fire Department, Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Life EMS ambulance were dispatched. Initially, first responders were called to the Barothy Lodge on Barothy Road east of Walhalla Road. Initial dispatch information indicated the canoeists had capsized down river about five minutes from the lodge. McVicker said rescuers learned, once they arrived at the lodge, that the two were guests there but had rented a canoe up river.

pere marquette river upper branchRescue personnel then conducted searches by water and land at various points along the river. Firefighters were able to locate the canoeists downriver from the public boat launch along Branch Road in Lake County’s Sweetwater Township. Firefighters, marine patrol and the DNR conservation officer then took the two out of the river. Sheriff Kim Cole said the two were doing well and did not seek medical treatment. They were reported being chilled due to the cold water temperature. Fort said some of the canoeists’ gear was recovered but he was unable to locate the canoe.

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