(HURON COUNTY) – Two Vassar area residents got more than they bargained for Monday evening, when an afternoon of boating on Lake Huron turned in to them being rescued after winds blew them away from shore, unable to return to shore.
Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson said a 35-year old female and her 64-year old mother had paddled out into the lake with hopes of getting to Turnup Rock.
Although the boaters were told it was a short trip to their destination, they ended up paddling for several hours before arriving then heading back.
On the way back to shore around 7:30 p.m., Sheriff Hanson said the two victims were battling strong breezes and became exhausted and overcome, in their boat with no anchor.
The mother had also become incapacitated due to a health condition and was in need of medication.
With Deputies enroute in their 31’ patrol boat, along with the Port Austin Fire inflatable rescue boat enroute, the two were recovered in the darkness nearly one mile north of Port Austin.
Sheriff Hanson said the ladies’ boat, which was taking on water, was left adrift and likely sank sometime during the night. Once on shore, the mother was taken by Central Huron Ambulance to McLaren Thumb for treatment while the daughter refused treatment. Port Austin Police also assisted firemen and the Sheriff Department.
Sheriff Hanson said fortunately, the victims had a cell phone and were able to call for help. Otherwise if they hadn’t, the southerly breezes could have easily pushed them unnoticed way out into the rough open water.
He added, “Their likelihood of survival would not have been good”.
Rescue personnel say although the victims did have life jackets, the water continues to cool into the upper 50s, making hypothermia a major concern if one ends up in the water.
Paddle sport enthusiasts need to not take this time of year for granted, not to mention need to understand that the boating season is winding down, making help that much harder to find in an emergency.
The sheriff department is asking any paddle sport enthusiast considering going out during the off season to really evaluate their skills, equipment and emergency options if they do so.