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Kayakers rescued near Grand Island

August 14, 2012
By JOHN PEPIN - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MUNISING - Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore officials said two Munising men saved the lives of two downstate residents whose kayaks had overturned Sunday off the thumb of Grand Island.

The incident was reported at about 12:30 p.m. Rangers credited Robert Helsel and Steven Welters of Munising with saving the lives of a 30-year-old man from Grand Rapids and a 27-year-old female from Spring Lake, whose names were not released.

Park Rangers said the kayakers were paddling from Miners Beach west to Grand Island in recreational kayaks when they overturned.

"Fortunately they were wearing their life jackets and had a whistle or they most likely would have been lost before Helsel and Welters came by, boating in from a fishing trip," Pictured Rocks park ranger Clif Edwards said.

"The kayakers advised they had been capsized for about an hour and a half when rescued and were mildly hypothermic. They refused medical treatment."

The near drownings were the second such incident reported from Pictured Rocks over the weekend. On Saturday, two downstate men nearly drowned after battling high waves on Lake Superior to rescue an 8-year-old boy who had been playing in the waves at Miners Beach and was pulled out to deeper water by a rip current.

Park rangers were reminding the public of the local dangers of Lake Superior.

"We urge kayakers and swimmers to plan carefully, watch lake conditions closely, and use extreme caution," Pictured Rocks acting chief ranger Bill Smith said in a news release.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.



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