Kayaker Invented Missing Canoeists

False report prompted 3-day search


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A three-day search for two missing canoeists on Wisconsin’s Chippewa River was called off when police discovered that the two men never existed. The man who told the false story was arrested on suspicion of obstructing an officer. 

Andrew Wallace, 30, told police that he had fallen into the Chippewa River while kayaking because he was trying to rescue two men clinging to their capsized canoe. He said the two men were swept downstream, prompting a massive search by land, sea, and air that turned up neither canoe nor canoeist.

City Manager Russell Van Gompel said that the fake report put responders’ well-being at risk as they searched choppy, frigid waters. Wallace was booked and released, but it’s still unclear why he made up the story in the first place. Sure makes the fall from his kayak a lot less heroic.

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