Topeka men rescued from troubled sailboat in Mississippi River - Montgomery Alabama news.

Topeka men rescued from troubled sailboat in Mississippi River


A couple of Kansas travel daredevils were pulled from a 22-foot sailboat in the Mississippi River after they got in trouble during a surprise October snowstorm.

Connor Morton, 24, and Tanner Balengee, 22, both from the Topeka area, were sailing down the Mississippi River in effort to reach the Gulf of Mexico when they were blindsided by a freak storm that produced both snow and dense fog. This left the pair stranded.

"We couldn't see the shore or where we were going," Morton told KCTV5 Tuesday night. "We ran into a dam, and we had to call for help."

Morton said they set off their flare. Eventually, fire department crews in Moline, IL, were able to reach the boat and bring the two to safety.

The rescue occurred about 11 a.m. Tuesday, and it took some time to rescue them.

"The snow just kept coming down, and then we lost all visibility. We couldn't see anything. It was just complete white. We had no idea where the channel was," Ballengee said.

Despite the freezing temperatures, the two are OK. And they are determined to continue their journey, which began with them in canoes 63 days ago at the river's beginning in northern Minnesota. After spending the night at a fire station, they said they hope the weather will allow them to resume their trip south on Wednesday.

"Our goal is to reach the Gulf of Mexico before Christmas," Morton said. "That way, we can be home for the holidays."

Morton said he and Balengee have been traveling for some time. They have traveled to Europe and completed a 14,000-mile motorcycle trip across Asia.

"We've done a lot of crazy stuff in our lives," Morton said.

Five men began the trip to journey down the entire length of the Mississippi River, and just the two remain.

To see their blog chronicling their adventures, click here.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

  • Topeka men rescued from troubled sailboat in Mississippi RiverMore>>

Powered by Frankly