Coast Guard rescues kayakers who capsized in Lake Superior

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DULUTH, MINN ----  June 29, 2011  ---  A U.S. Coast Guard boatcrew rescued two teenagers from the frigid waters of Lake Superior near Duluth, Minn., after their kayaks capsized there Wednesday afternoon.

A charter fishing boat operator was travelling though the Duluth Entry near the Duluth Aerial Bridge at noon when he noticed a teenager struggling near his capsized kayak, so he used his VHF-FM marine radio to notify Coast Guard Station Duluth, reporting his own vessel was too large to safely assist.

Within four minutes, a Coast Guard boatcrew launched in a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water boat to rescue the kayaker. When the crew arrived on scene, the 19-year-old had managed to climb back into his kayak, but the vessel was filled with lake water, reported to be about 48 degrees.

After discussing several options, the Coast Guard boatcrew and the kayaker agreed that it was best for the teenager and his kayak to come aboard the SPC-SW to transit back to shore.

While the boatcrew was still on scene with the original kayaker, the Aerial Bridge operator called on the radio to report another kayak capsized on the opposite side of the breakwall and stated it appeared the kayaker was struggling and could not climb back into his vessel.

After recovering the first kayaker and his vessel, the Coast Guardsmen transited to the second kayaker, where they found the 18-year-old still in the water with two instructors nearby in their own kayaks.

The men apparently were traveling with several other kayakers in a group from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Both are reportedly from Eagan, Minn.

The Coast Guardsmen used a boat hook to recover the second man then brought his kayak aboard as well. They transported both men and their kayaks to Coast Guard Station Duluth, where emergency medical technicians were waiting. They were further transferred to a local hospital where they were treated for hypothermia.

Both men were wearing life jackets. One was reportedly wearing a wetsuit bottom and t-shirt and the other a short wetsuit.

The Coast Guard is not releasing the names of the boaters.  There is no imagery associated with this case.

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