March 28, 2006 in Idaho

Cell phone likely saves capsized kayaker’s life

Taryn Brodwater Staff writer
 
Kathy Plonka photo

Members of the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department transport a man from the Third Street boat launch on Monday after his kayak capsized on Lake Coeur d’Alene.
(Full-size photo)

A kayaker was rescued from the frigid waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene on Monday after using his cell phone to call 911.

The man, whose name was not immediately available, called for help after the red plastic kayak he was in overturned just after 4 p.m.

He spent about half an hour in the lake before crews from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department and the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department plucked him from the water and brought him to shore, Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Higgins said.

Higgins said the kayaker was in the middle of the lake between Moscow and Squaw bays.

Though he was wearing a life jacket, the man wasn’t wearing a wet suit or dry suit, Higgins said.

He estimated the water was 38 degrees or colder.

An ambulance waited for the rescue boats at the Third Street Dock. Not far away, at Tubbs Hill, a few teens on spring break took turns jumping off rocks into the water.

When the rescue boats arrived at the dock just before 5 p.m., the victim walked off the boat and lay down on a gurney.

Officials said Monday’s incident was the first water-related accident of the season.

The man’s condition wasn’t immediately available, but Deputy Fire Chief Jim Washko said he was conscious and alert. He was taken to the hospital.

“His core temperature is probably down from being in the water,” Washko said.

“He’s pretty fortunate. He made a phone call that pretty much saved his own life.”


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