Eau Claire police arrested a 30-year-old man for obstructing an officer after providing false information about two distressed canoesists who were swept down stream Tuesday afternoon.
Specific information provided by Andrew Wallace, of Manitowoc, led to a multi-agency search for two canoeists. Wallace said he saw them get swept down stream in a capsized canoe in the Chippewa River, south of the Short Street Bridge in Eau Claire.
Eau Claire police said they initially got a call about a distressed kayaker around 1:40 p.m. on Tuesday. Wallace told police he tried to help two men, about 20-years-old, who were hanging on to the underside of a capsized canoe that was rapidly floating downstream. Wallace told police he threw a rope to the canoeists in an attempt to rescue them, but then the kayak overturned and he lost sight of the two men as their canoe continued downstream.
On Wednesday, the Eau Claire Fire/Rescue, Township Fire/Rescue and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources participated in water search and rescue efforts, while a Mayo Clinic helicopter assisted from the air. Eau Claire Police Department and Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Department personnel helped from the ground.
After conducting an investigation, Eau Claire police say there were no canoesists present or in distress.