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Priest, another man presumed dead in Detroit River

US, Canadian authorities search Detroit River for missing people after boat capsizes
US, Canadian authorities search Detroit River for missing people after boat capsizes

GROSSE ILE, Mich. – Authorities searched for a priest and another man who were presumed dead after a boat capsized in the Detroit River, police said Monday.

The incident occurred Sunday near Grosse Ile, a suburban island between Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Many people were aboard the boat.

It's “very unusual” for a 39-foot boat to capsize, Grosse Ile police Lt. Kenneth Pelland said.

“It made a quick turn,” he said. “It may have hit a wake, causing it to capsize. One witness has informed us that the boat may have rolled at least once and caused all of the passengers to be ejected.”

The missing were identified as the Rev. Stephen Rooney and the boat's 52-year-old skipper, Robert Chiles.

“Let us unite together in prayer for the missing, for the rescued and for first responders searching the waters,” the Archdiocese of Detroit said.

Rooney, 66, a native of Ireland, was pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Trenton, his latest assignment during more than 30 years as a priest.

"It's horrible for the family, horrible for the community," Pelland said.