City of Sarnia forced to foot $8,000 bill for rescuing 1,500 drunk American revellers

The city shuttled the “over-refreshed” crowd back across the border by deploying Sarnia transit buses.
The city shuttled the “over-refreshed” crowd back across the border by deploying Sarnia transit buses. (Photo: iStock)

The mayor of Sarnia, Ont., is hopping mad over the bill his constituents are left with thanks to the city’s rescue of 1,500 U.S. carousers who got blown off course and ended up on Canadian shores.

The unintended American invasion of Sarnia’s shores happened on Sunday, when the party happy crowd was participating in the annual Port Huron Float Down on the American side of the St. Clair River. The participants were floating in dinghies and other floatation devices when strong winds blew them towards Sarnia.

As a result of the crowd being blown off course, several Canadian agencies were forced to come to their rescue, including: ambulance crews, firefighters, the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Canada Border Services Agency.

The city shuttled the “over-refreshed” crowd back across the border by deploying Sarnia transit buses which had to make 19 trips, while streets were closed and fire trucks and marine vessels were also deployed.

All this added up to a pretty impressive tab, about $8,000 but unfortunately the city was forced to pick up the tab for the party animals, as this is an unofficial yearly event with no known organizers or sponsors.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has no illusions about being able to find someone to be held responsible for the bill as he told CBC News, "I think it's going to be difficult to find anyone to step up and say: I'm going to be accountable for the actions of 4,000 or 5,000 people going into the river on a hot summer day and a lot of them very engaged in alcohol".

The city was also forced to clean up after the carousers, as there was a lot of garbage and floating debris left behind, adding yet another cost to the bill.

It is unclear at this time what the final total for the rescue and damage caused will come to, as some organizations still have to submit their bill to the city.

In an attempt to help the city with the costs, a Michigan man has set up a crowdfunding campaign.
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