By Sarah Barchus
An expert canoeist couple died Sunday during their visit to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Pioneer Press reported.
Thomas Pineault, 55, and Cynthia Pineault, 51, of Forrest Lake were found in the water near the Sawbill Lake entrance to the Boundary Waters Sunday afternoon, the Star Tribune reported.
Bill Hansen, owner of Sawbill Outfitters, said a Chicago church group discovered the Pineaults' bodies while picnicking on the lake and told Hansen, who contacted the authorities, the Pioneer Press reported.
The Cook Country Sherriff's office, Cook County Search and Rescue, Minnesota State Patrol, U.S. Forest Service and Sawbill Outfitters contributed to the recovery effort.
The Sherriff's office said the bodies were likely in the water for more than 24 hours, the Pioneer Press reported.
The Pineaults were wearing life jackets near a capsized canoe when they were found. Officials are waiting for the autopsy report but said they don't suspect foul play, the Pioneer Press reported.
The Duluth News Tribune reported that officials said windy conditions and low temperatures could have factored into the deaths, the Star Tribune reported.
Hansen said the water was around 50 degrees. U.S. Search and Rescue Task Force said at that temperature people can survive one to three hours, the Pioneer Press reported.
In spite of the hazardous conditions, Hansen said the situation was "puzzling," the Pioneer Press reported.
"They were very experienced canoeists," son Nathan Pineault said. "They would go up [to the Boundary Waters] for multiple weeks at a time, multiple times a year," the Pioneer Press reported. Pineault said the Lake Alton area was one of his parents's favorite spots.