Air Station Traverse City assists Manistee County Sheriffs with search for missing kayaker

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, while assisting the Manistee County Sheriff’s Department, located a missing kayaker approximately 25 miles east of Manistee, Mich., along the Pine River, at 7:05 a.m. on Sunday.

The Manistee County Sheriff’s requested assistance when a 38-year-old male kayaker was separated from his friends on the Pine River on the evening of June 5.

Air Station Traverse City launched an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and the aircrew was able to see the man along the river bank approximately one mile from the ground search party’s staging area.

“He seemed well prepared,” said Lt. Paul Smith, the pilot of the rescue helicopter. “He had his gear spread out in a way that made him easy to see.”

The aircrew airlifted the man and transported him to the ground crew where local Emergency Medical Services were waiting.

“It was an unusually high hoist, because of the trees, but we were able to get him on board,” added Smith.

Paddlesports are the fastest growing segment of recreational boating, with more than 300,000 paddlecraft (primarily kayaks) now being sold annually. Paddlecraft are an extremely affordable entry point to recreational boating, which is attractive to new boaters, boaters downsizing from larger boats and those interested in getting closer to the environment.

Paddlers are generally more exposed to the elements than boaters on power and sail craft. Paddlers need to equip their boats with required and recommended safety gear, such as a hand-held VHF-FM radio, and wear the proper personal protective clothing, including dry or wet suits, when advisable.

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