Men in capsized canoe not wearing life jackets

Published 10:36 am Monday, April 27, 2015

ST. PAUL — The sister of a St. Paul man who drowned after his canoe capsized on a Ramsey County lake says his death could have been prevented.

Maiya Thao says she was dumbfounded when she found out her brother and two childhood friends with him in the canoe were not wearing life jackets. Thao says her brother, 27-year-old Van Houa Thao, was only a mediocre swimmer.

The canoe capsized shortly before noon Sunday on Twin Lake. Thao’s two friends made it close enough to shore for neighbors to help them from the water. Kou Xiong was one of the friends that survived. He says he and Thao have been friends since elementary school in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

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The Pioneer Press says Thao’s body was recovered Sunday afternoon by the sheriff’s department dive team.