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home : news : news October 3, 2015

4/6/2013 8:21:00 AM
Kayaker rescued last weekend from icy harbor
Jessica Evans
News Manager

Officers from the Harbor Springs Police Department, along with the Harbor Springs Fire Department and and Allied EMS, responded to a report on Saturday, March 30 of a local woman who had tipped her kayak in the harbor and had fallen into the water.

At about 3 p.m., the Harbor Springs Police Department responded to the 911 dispatch call of a tipped kayak, said Harbor Springs Police Officer Steve Timmons. Three women were attempting to kayak to Harbor Point and were approximately two-thirds of the way across the harbor when the incident occurred.

"When we realized how far out they were, we knew that launching any rescue attempt from shore wouldn't work," explained Timmons.

Rescue options were considered including a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and a hover boat, offered by the Pellston Fire Department. Petoskey Police Department also had a dinghy that was available for use to access the kayaker.

The solution was found locally, however, as a workboat from Walstrom Marine was used to make the rescue.

"We were able to pull her from the water and get her back to Walstrom's where Allied EMS stepped in to assess her condition," Timmons said. "We then returned to pull her kayak out of the water and to make sure the other two women got back to shore ok."

Timmons stated that there is still a fair amount of ice on the harbor. He noted that the women had been breaking the ice with their kayaks as they paddled toward Harbor Point. The woman who fell in the water, was in for 20 to 25 minutes, he said.

"When we pulled her from the water, she could still speak to us, but was in the beginning stages of hypothermia, which is nothing to overlook," he said.

According to Timmons, there is always the potential for danger when going out on the water with temperatures being so low.

"I'm not a kayaker myself, but I do know there is always the possibility of tipping when you go out. Water temperatures right now are not even above freezing and staying in water that cold for any length of time can bring someone's body temperature down very quickly."

Timmons said following the rescue, he believed the woman was taken to the hospital. He noted the response of all agencies involved was essential in completing the rescue successfully.

"Everyone worked together really well and in doing so, was able to offer a positive solution to this incident," he said.

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