Coast Guard crews save 2 on Lake St. Clair

9th Coast Guard District News
CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued two people in Lake St. Clair off of a vessel beset by weather Sunday morning.

Just before 9 a.m., a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Detroit received notification from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department that a canoe carrying two people was adrift in Lake St. Clair.

The individuals spoke Chinese and little English, causing a significant language barrier. They reported they could see land but could not reach it as they were being pushed offshore due to strong winds. They were unable to provide their location.

Watchstanders at the 9th Coast Guard District Command Center in Cleveland contacted one of the boater’s cellular provider to obtain coordinates from the cell phone transmissions.

A rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit was diverted aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, and a rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores, Mich., responded aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small to locate the distressed vessel.

The rescue aircrew was able to locate the vessel and lowered a rescue swimmer to the vessel to discover that both individuals were showing signs of hypothermia. The rescue aircrew hoisted both boaters aboard and transported them to McLaren Macomb Hospital in Mount Clemens, Mich.

The rescue boatcrew reported the vessel is a 9-foot raft with no engine. They were unable to reach the vessel due to water depth.

“The cell phone transmissions helped to provide a good starting position for Coast Guard rescue crews to search,” said Lt. Kelly Ridle, 9th Coast Guard District command center watchstander. “Once on scene, rescue crews were better able to be vectored to the distressed vessel with help from local authorities.”

The Coast Guard wishes to remind boaters that water temperatures in Lake St. Clair are still cold enough to cause hypothermia. Current water surface temperatures for Lake St. Clair are available by clicking here. Also check the weather forecast before going out. Always be concious that, in the maritime environment, the weather can quickly change.

Click here for more information on boating safety.

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