Coast Guard rescues 2 kayakers from Lake Michigan near South Manitou Island

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CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued two kayakers, Sunday evening, from Lake Michigan in the vicinity of South Manitou Island, Michigan.

The Coast Guard is not releasing the names of the rescued individuals, and there is no Coast Guard imagery for this case.

At about 6 p.m., a rescue air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, was requested to assist in the search for two missing kayakers that were thought to be between South Manitou Island and Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Previously, passengers aboard the sailing vessel Mary Kate rescued three kayakers near Manitou Island after the kayakers were too fatigued to complete their journey. The kayakers reported two additional members from their group were missing.

The rescue air crew aboard a Dolphin helicopter launched about 6:30 p.m., and after searching for about 20 minutes, spotted the missing kayakers. One person was hanging onto a capsized kayak while the other was still in his personal water craft and signaled to the air crew with his paddle.

A rescue swimmer was lowered down to assess the situation and found that the kayaker in the water was suffering from symptoms of hypothermia but was still audible. A rescue basket was lowered to the rescue swimmer who helped the teenager into the basket. The basket was lowered again for the second kayaker and hoisted up to the helicopter as well.

During the rescue, the air crew was notified that Emergency Medical Technicians were waiting at a small boat ramp in Glen Arbor, Michigan, only about 4 or 5 miles away. The pilots landed the aircraft at the boat ramp and transferred the patients to the awaiting EMS.

A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Frankfort, Michigan, which was also involved in the search, retrieved the rescue swimmer and the kayaks and brought them to the boat ramp.

The conditions of the rescued kayakers are unknown at this time.

“These kayakers were very lucky to survive this emergency situation because their equipment was not suitable for the conditions they were in, and they were not dressed for the water temperature,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Allen, the pilot of the rescue helicopter. “They however, did several things right to help themselves – most importantly they were both wearing life jackets, they stayed together and practiced the buddy system, and their kayaks were bright red and easily seen from a distance.”

The conditions during the rescue included 4 to 5 foot swells and 25 mile per hour winds with a water temperature of 55 degrees. The Coast Guard considers a water rescue conducted in water below 72 degrees to be a cold-water rescue.

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to remain vigilant while on the water by being aware of your surroundings, including the weather conditions. Wear your life jackets at all times and be prepared for emergency situations by having signaling and working communication devices on board.

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