St. Clair River float down: After last year’s debacle, smaller crowd takes part in yearly pleasure cruise

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Dozens of Canadians joined hundreds of Americans in floating down the St. Clair River in an event Sunday that drew spectators to the Point Edward and Sarnia waterfront and a fleet of first responders.

Canadian Coast Guard officials estimated 100 people riding on inflatable rafts left from the Canadian side, and as many as 1,500 entered the river from the Michigan side in what was billed as the 40th year for the unsanctioned event.

A 30-year-old American woman and two teenagers were pulled from the river by the Canadian Coast Guard after their dinghy deflated, spokesperson Carol Launderville said.

They weren’t injured and were bought to the Canadian shore, where arrangements were made to return them home, she said.

Some Canadian participants left shore at 12:30 p.m. with the bulk of American floaters beginning to set out at 1 p.m. for the 12-km float to Chrysler Beach in Marysville, Mich.

Canadian participants were said to be aiming for Guthrie Park, across from Marysville.

Early Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard posted a notice on its Facebook page saying winds from the south were causing floaters to move slower than anticipated and that completing the route could take six hours.

Colin Leco travelled from London to take part along with his sister and father.

Leco said they heard about the event on the news last year and decided to take part after seeing on social media Canadians were organizing a float down on the same day.

“I honestly haven’t heard a single one,” Leco said when asked about safety warnings officials issued about the event.

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