Coast Guard rescues 2 in Lake Superior after kayak capsizes

CLEVELAND – A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued two kayakers after their 21-foot tandem kayak capsized near Michipicoten Island in northern Lake Superior, Sept. 17, 2010.

Rescued are Robert Beltram, 63, from McHenry, Ill., and Judith Gotlieb, 59, hometown not known.

The HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., responded at the request of Canadian coast guard authorities at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario, who were initially notified of the distress when Beltram activated his 406 MHz personal locator beacon (PLB) at about 12:59 p.m., EST.

Beltram and Gotlieb were reportedly on a 4-week kayak trip around Lake Superior, and have successfully made the trip before. The specific details of the accident are not known at this time. On scene weather was rough, with six-foot waves, 20- to 25-knot winds, and a water temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

The first response crew on scene was aboard a Canadian coast guard C-130 search plane from JRCC Trenton. The crew spotted the kayakers at 3:19 p.m.

The Traverse City crew was on scene and had both kayakers aboard the rescue helicopter at 4:01 p.m. They were both reportedly showing signs of hypothermia and were transported to Lady Dunn Hospital in Wawa, Ontario.

“A personal locator beacon is invaluable when we’re attempting to find persons in distress,” said Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of the Incident Management Branch for the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland.

[amazon-product]B00265AHKK[/amazon-product]”In the case of an emergency, its activation is as simple as pressing a button,” Torpey said. “Mariners don’t have to dial a cellular phone. They don’t have to determine and communicate their position on a marine radio. Everything is done automatically and transmitted to the appropriate response agencies who can take immediate action.”

Personal locator beacons are recommended for use as standard safety gear by boaters, hikers or anyone else who spends a lot of time outdoors. They are easy to use and often have coverage where cellular phones and radios may not. Most importantly, they can take the “search” out of “search and rescue.”

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