Kayakers found after overnight search on bay

DOOR COUNTY – There was elation Friday when three kayakers missing on the waters of Green Bay were found safe. It came after a 15-hour search. And their story may teach a lesson.

The kayakers are out of the hospital. They were here in the area, but live out-of-state.

Door County sheriff’s officials identified the woman as Alison Alter, 43, of Austin, Texas. She was kayaking with two nine-year-olds: her son, Zachary Suri, and a nephew, Thomas Alter, who lives in Highland Park, Illinois.

Local emergency medical services, along with members of the Coast Guard rescue crew from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., attend to the rescued kayakers at Menominee-Marinette County Airport in Menominee, Mich., July 11, 2014. The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the Royal Canadian Air Force and several local agencies assisted in the search and rescue of the three kayakers from Whaleback Shoal in Green Bay after they were reported missing July 10, 2014.
Local emergency medical services, along with members of the Coast Guard rescue crew from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., attend to the rescued kayakers at Menominee-Marinette County Airport in Menominee, Mich., July 11, 2014. The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the Royal Canadian Air Force and several local agencies assisted in the search and rescue of the three kayakers from Whaleback Shoal in Green Bay after they were reported missing July 10, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Shad Soldano)

They left Peninsula State Park Thursday afternoon. They were later found much farther north.

Helicopters hovered in the sky Friday morning as rescue boats searched the waters in an effort to locate three kayakers.

“We received the call at approximately 6:30 last night,” Lt. Jeff Farley of the Door Co. Sheriff’s Dept. said.

The group had left a kayak rental company at Nicolet Bay about mid-afternoon on their way to Horseshoe Island. They were supposed to return by 4 p.m.; instead, they drifted out more than 15 miles from where they started.

Officials told FOX 11’s Emily Deem they received a call when the kayakers never returned from their afternoon adventure.

“We had approximately 6-7 boats in the water until about 10:30 last night,” Farley said. “We then pulled the boats, because it was so dark you couldn’t see anything. But the U.S. Coast Guard continued searching with two of their vessels and two helicopters all night long.”

Searching throughout the night until a glimmer of hope was spotted from above. Searchers from the Royal Canadian Air Force were the ones who spotted the kayaks, the Coast Guard said.

A Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., prepares to rescue three kayakers from Whaleback Shoal in Green Bay, July 11, 2014. The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the Royal Canadian Air Force and several local agencies assisted in the search and rescue of three kayakers reported missing on July 10, 2014.
A Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., prepares to rescue three kayakers from Whaleback Shoal in Green Bay, July 11, 2014. The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the Royal Canadian Air Force and several local agencies assisted in the search and rescue of three kayakers reported missing on July 10, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force)

“A C-130 aircraft located the kayakers approximately two miles north of Whaleback Shoal, which is approximately 16-17 miles north of where they put in at Nicolet Beach,” Farley said. “That’s quite a distance they traveled.”

Farley said the helicopter lowered a swimmer to the kayakers and the aircraft was able to pull them to safety.

“We were notified by the US Coast Guard that two of them were showing indications of hypothermia, but like I said, they were all flown to (Bay Area Medical Center) in Marinette.”

Officials are thankful this dangerous situation had a positive outcome.

“We were just notified by the Coast Guard that they were found and I have to admit when we were notified that they were found,” Farley said. “The incident command got pretty excited with everybody going, ‘yes!’ you know, ‘we found them safely!’”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Johnson, an aviation survival technician from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., wraps a blanket around Zachary Suri at the Menominee-Marinette Twin County Airport in Menominee, Mich., July 11, 2014. Suri, along with his mother and cousin, were rescued from Whaleback Shoal in Green Bay after being stranded on the water overnight when their kayaks went adrift. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Shad Soldano
Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Johnson, an aviation survival technician from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., wraps a blanket around Zachary Suri at the Menominee-Marinette Twin County Airport in Menominee, Mich., July 11, 2014.
Suri, along with his mother and cousin, were rescued from Whaleback Shoal in Green Bay after being stranded on the water overnight when their kayaks went adrift.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Shad Soldano
Thomas Alter and Zachary Suri sit aboard a Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., after being rescued July 11, 2014. The boys, along with Suri’s mother, were rescued from Whaleback Shoal in Green Bay after being stranded on the water overnight when their kayaks went adrift. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Shad Soldano
Thomas Alter and Zachary Suri sit aboard a Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., after being rescued July 11, 2014.
The boys, along with Suri’s mother, were rescued from Whaleback Shoal in Green Bay after being stranded on the water overnight when their kayaks went adrift.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Shad Soldano

 

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