Kayaker Rescue Sparks Winter Water Worries

A kayaker who capsized in Lake Kickapoo was stuck in the water for 45 minutes waiting to be rescued, and Game Wardens said the weather conditions made the situation dangerous.

Winds of 20 miles per hour created "white caps" on the waves farther out in the lake, and the kayaker capsized shortly after entering the white capping area.

"Even with our equipment and boats, it's dangerous for us to get out there and rescue him," said Game Warden Richard Key.

Low lake levels meant the Game Wardens' bigger boats could not get into the water, and the smaller boats were in danger of capsizing as well. The Lake Kickapoo Volunteer Fire Department finally brought a boat the right size and rescued the man from the water.
The kayaker was stuck in the cold water for about 45 minutes, and he was slow and sluggish when he was assisted out, which are good indications that he had hypothermia. The man was transported to United Regional.

Fortunately, the man was wearing his life jacket, which Game Wardens said saved his life. Key also said boaters should have a whistle on them to call for help.

Game Warden Key said boaters should always check the weather before heading out on the water, and pay special attention to winds this time of year. If there are any white caps in the water, Key said non-powered boats should not go in the water.