SEATTLE — Coast Guard and Navy crews rescued three kayakers that went missing near Dungeness Bay, Saturday.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew hoisted a 50-year-old kayaker, a Coast Guard boatcrew recovered a 52-year-old kayaker, and a Navy helicopter crew hoisted a 39-year-old kayaker out of the water. All three kayakers were transported to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles in critical condition, one of which was then life-flighted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound watchstanders received a report from an individual at the New Dungeness Lighthouse of a possible kayaker in distress around 2:42 p.m. A Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Port Angeles, and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, were launched in response.
The Dolphin helicopter crew arrived on scene to find the 50-year-old kayaker alone in the water. Using their rescue swimmer, they hoisted the kayaker and then transported him to Port Angeles where he was transferred to emergency medical personnel at Olympic Medical Center.
The RB-M crew recovered the 52-year-old kayaker and transferred him to Clallam County emergency medical personnel at the John Wayne Marina in Sequim, who transported him to Olympic Medical Center.
Sector Puget Sound watchstanders requested assistance from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island personnel, who launched an HH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew. They recovered the 39-year-old kayaker and transported her to Olympic Medical Center.
“Wearing a drysuit will greatly increase your chances of surviving in this water,” said Jeff Gearhart, a search and rescue controller at Sector Puget Sound.
As summer rolls in and more people spend there time in and around the water, the importance of preparedness and planning cannot be stressed enough. Wear a personal flotation device, stay hydrated, tell someone your plan and stick to it, dress according to weather and water temperature, and know your limits.
The weather on scene was reported as 35 mph winds and 3-foot high seas.