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9 kayakers — including 7 children — hoisted to safety near Anacortes

(File photo/U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest)

(File photo/U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest)

FIDALGO ISLAND, Washington — The Coast Guard and Navy worked together Thursday afternoon to rescue nine people who were separated from each other on a kayaking trip.

An instructor from the kayaking group used a radio to contact the Coast Guard around 1:10 p.m., officials said. Someone on a nearby boat found five children on the beach and two on kayaks in a bed of kelp.

Officials said the Navy aircrew arrived at the scene and dropped a swimmer into the water to help hoist the children into the helicopter. The Navy swimmer stayed with two adults until a Coast Guard helicopter arrived and hoisted all three to safety.

“These people also had the right safety equipment with them, including a VHF-FM radio, and they were wearing their life jackets,” said Mike McKiernan, command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

The nine kayakers were taken to Whidbey General Hospital in good condition.

Officials said a small craft advisory was in effect at the time.

A Coast Guard boat crew from the Bellingham station recovered two kayaks. Officials say the other kayaks could be adrift which could be dangerous to boats and ships in the area.

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1 Comment

  • Erik

    It would be interesting to know a few more details about this incident. We run kayak tours in this area and had cancelled everything in the afternoon due to the weather. I’m not sure why anyone would have voluntarily chosen to be in that place at that time, there were incredibly rough seas and high winds.
    Although everyone is responsible for making their own decisions, we have an office in the marina here on the west side of Anacortes and are always very happy to give our opinion on conditions and whether an itinerary is appropriate. Kayakers should feel welcome to stop by.