– An elderly couple nearly drowned on the Big Piney River Monday afternoon when they were thrown from their canoe, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. The incident happened 5 miles south of St Robert.

Ernest Massey, 86, from St. Robert was flown by Staff for Life to University Hospital in Columbia. He was in serious condition.

Verne Massey, 81, also from St. Robert was transported by ambulance to Fort Wood Hospital. Her injuries were described as moderate.

Only Verne was wearing a personal flotation device.

The patrol says the canoe occupied by the Massey’s was travelling downstream when it struck a log and capsized sending the pair into the river. The canoe was swept away and hasn’t been found.

Trooper Rapier responded at 3:00 p.m.