Canada invaded by 1,500 people on wayward play rafts

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — Canadian authorities stopped an invasion: 1,500 people on inflatable rafts and boats that drifted across the border from Michigan during high winds on the St. Clair River.

The 7.5-mile Port Huron Float Down is an annual event on the river that divides Michigan from Ontario, Canada. But the winds turned it into an international incident Sunday.

Floaters travel down the St. Clair River during Float Down at Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron, Mich., Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. Thousands of people gathered for the event and floated down the St. Clair River. (Mark R. Rummel/The Times Herald via AP)
Floaters travel down the St. Clair River during Float Down at Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron, Mich., Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. Thousands of people gathered for the event and floated down the St. Clair River. (Mark R. Rummel/The Times Herald via AP)

“The event has no official organizer and poses significant and unusual hazards given the fast-moving current, large number of participants, lack of life jackets, and as was the case this year, challenging weather conditions,” the Sarnia, Ontario, Police Service said on its website.

Police said it took hours for a bus service, Sarnia Transit, to transport approximately 1,500 U.S. citizens back to Michigan.

“They were unprepared to be stranded anywhere,” Staff Sgt. Scott Clarke told the Times Herald

“It was a bit of a nightmare, but we got through it,” he said. “There were long waits and long lines. They were cold and wet, but they all made it home.”

The event started at Port Huron’s Lighthouse Beach and was supposed to end at Chrysler Beach in Marysville.

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