07/28/2020 15:40 EDT

U.S.-Canada Border Crosser Arrested After River Float Chase

Spoiler alert: the river was actually flowing back into the U.S.

Courtesy Grand Forks RCMP
The Washington man who evaded RCMP by jumping into the Kettle River was eventually arrested.

Here’s a public service announcement to Americans: the Canada-U.S. border is still closed to non-essential travel. And yes, that includes trying to float into Canada on a river. 

According to RCMP, a Washington State man was arrested Friday for illegally crossing the border into British Columbia and trying to evade authorities by floating down the Kettle River for two and a half hours.

The Canada-U.S. border is entering its fourth month with crossing restrictions for non-essential visitors. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has turned away over 10,000 Americans since the start of the pandemic

WATCH: Couple ties the knot at Canada-U.S. border. Story continues below.


Evidently none of them tried simply floating into Canada like a piece of wayward driftwood.

Police in Washington State alerted Grand Forks RCMP Friday afternoon about the border-crosser who first entered Canada near Port Cascade in a stolen vehicle, dumped it and fled on foot.

When RCMP confronted the man and attempted to arrest him, he jumped into the nearby Kettle River.

RCMP tracked him on his lazy river journey by walking along both sides of the river bank. At a point where the river narrowed, an officer, along with nearby locals were able to wade into the river and escort him back to shore.

“This was an exceptional response from many involved including the Grand Forks and Midway officers who tracked the male for 2.5 hours, the Grand Forks Fire Department, BC Emergency Health Services and local search and rescue personnel,” Grand Forks RCMP Sergeant Darryl Peppler said in a statement

“We would like to thank the good Samaritans who assisted us in helping to safely escort this male to shore where he could be taken into custody.”

The man is now in CBSA custody and the agency is working with both RCMP and Washington State police to determine charges.

The Kettle River is a popular tubing spot, with promotional materials highlighting the chance to “float your cares away.” 


But it does come with a warning everyone, illegal border crosser or not, should heed.

“Please note the Kettle River flows into the United States just past this point, so you will have to check with US/Canada Customs regarding border crossings. You must have a valid passport to enter the United States,” the site reads.

That means with the river flowing from Canada into the U.S., the intrepid floater wasn’t even floating in the right direction. 

Even Canada’s rivers are helping enforce the border closure.

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