Hopes are rapidly fading in the effort to find alive two men among four who went over a waterfall in two canoes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

St. Louis County Sheriff's Cmdr. Nate Skelton said Tuesday that a combination of time and weather conditions are chipping away at the prospect that Jesse Melvin Haugen, 41, of Cambridge, Minn., and Reis Melvin Grams, 40, of Lino Lakes, have survived going over Curtain Falls, between Crooked Lake and Iron Lake on the Minnesota-Ontario border.

"The next two days are not promising," Skelton said, noting that cloud cover is too low for aerial surveillance and up to 2 inches of rain is anticipated.

"People are on the ground, but only a few," the commander said. "They are camping and can't come out due to the weather. They are in there waiting."

Skelton said the ground personnel do have enough provisions to hang in there "for a number of days."

Due to the time that has passed, the weather and the circumstances of the two men being missing, "at some point we transition to a recovery" vs. a rescue, the commander said.

"We don't want to go in that direction," he said, "but I think that's where we're headed."

To help in the search, Superior National Forest officials have closed through Tuesday all trails, campsites, portages and bodies of water associated with Iron Lake, including Lac La Croix-Bottle portage, Lac La Croix-Iron portage and Crooked Lake west of Sunday Bay.

On Saturday about 7:20 p.m., a caller reported the canoes went over Curtain Falls, which is more of a slope rather than a steep drop, the Sheriff's Office said. The caller said two people were missing and at least one other person was badly injured.

Sunday after midnight, a state Department of Natural Resources helicopter removed the two surviving canoeists, and one of them was hospitalized in Duluth.

Injured while going over the falls was Kyle Thomas Sellers, 47, of Ham Lake. Canoeist Erik Michael Grams, 43, also of Ham Lake, was unharmed. Located at the campsite was Jared Jay Lohse, 33, of Cambridge, the Sheriff's Office said.

People in "one of the canoes got into some distress, and the others tried to give assistance," Skelton said. "That's when they both went over the falls."