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July 21st, 2017
July 21st, 2017

Two men who were rescued after spending eight hours in the water in Lake Erie can Thank Canadian Coast Guard and Auxiliary

Photo credit: The Windsor Star From left: Herb Ruthven, Jim Oakley, and Mike Drexler of the Colchester Guardian; Greg Colbeck, Jana Lorbetski, Jeff Faucher, and Sondi Ryersee of the Thunder Cape
Photo credit: The Windsor Star From left: Herb Ruthven, Jim Oakley, and Mike Drexler of the Colchester Guardian; Greg Colbeck, Jana Lorbetski, Jeff Faucher, and Sondi Ryersee of the Thunder Cape
On Monday July 17th, 2017, Two adult males had attempted to ride a watercraft from Pelee Island to Leamington - a distance of 13 nautical miles - on Monday afternoon.

They lost control of the watercraft and become separated from it about five nautical miles from the mainland.  Only one of the men had a life jacket.

No one was waiting for the men on shore. Their dire situation went unnoticed until the MV Jiimaan of the Pelee Island Ferry Service spotted the seemingly abandoned watercraft, floating along the ferry route sometime after 9 pm.

Once alerted by the ferry captain, the Canadian Coast Guards´s the Thunder Cape and the Colchester Guardian Auxiliary vessels began a desperate nighttime search for the missing riders.

About 50 minutes into their search pattern, Coxswain Herb Ruthven of the Colchester Guardian caught a heat image on his thermal camera.

Chief engineer Greg Colbeck stressed the good fortune of Ruthven´s sighting: “Trying to find a head bobbing above the water in a lake at night is next to impossible.”

The two survivors showed signs of hypothermia, and were taken to hospital after reaching the Leamington shore. Both are expected to recover fully.

The rider who had worn a life jacket was released by Tuesday afternoon.

As for who´s to blame for the near-fatal mishap, Coast Guard members would only point to a combination of factors: The watercraft was registered just last week, indicating a new purchase and possible lack of experience.

The Watercraft may have been overloaded by the second rider, who apparently joined the watercraft´s owner at the spur of the moment before their departure from Pelee Island.

Coast Guard members emphasized the situation could have been avoided with better decision-making, and would have been much less dangerous if simple precautions had been taken.

“Wear a life jacket,” said Jim Oakley, unit leader of the Colchester Guardian. “Have a whistle. Have reflectors on your life jacket.”

Oakley also noted the value of having a sail plan: “Let someone know when you´re leaving, where you´re going, and when to expect you back.”

Canadian Coast Guard, The Auxiliary, OPP, and other emergency response agencies have repeatedly reminded the public about the importance of marine safety, especially during the summer.

News story credit to Windsor Star and CTV News Windsor:

See original articles at the following links

http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/essex-county-jet-skiers-rescued-by-canadian-coast-guard-after-eight-hours-in-lake-erie?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1500422086


http://windsor.ctvnews.ca/it-s-like-winning-the-jackpot-rescuers-find-two-men-who-fell-off-jet-ski-in-lake-erie-1.3509624

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