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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Uninjured, Missing Kayaker Comes Ashore

The case of a missing kayaker whose empty craft washed up on Compo Beach off Soundview Drive today ended happily as the kayaker walked up to a rescue team, police said.

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Parks and Recreation Department employee Austin Mills carries the kayak to a storage spot for safekeeping. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The kayaker, who was not identified, told police he had set off from Southport, was thrown from his craft in choppy waters, and managed to make it to Sherwood Island State Park beach with the help of a paddle.

“Shortly after the search began, an officer stationed on Soundview Drive was approached by a male who stated that the kayak that had washed up on the beach belonged to him,” said Sgt. David Wolf.

Wolf credited the positive outcome to the fact the boater had worn a lifejacket.

According to Wolf, the incident began at approximately 11:55 a.m. when a concerned citizen reported a kayaker in distress.

“The caller reported that she observed a yellow kayak in the water, and that a person appeared to be clinging to it,” said Wolf.

He said that officers were immediately dispatched to the area, and that the first one on scene reported a yellow kayak had washed up on the beach.

“Concerned that the vessel’s operator was still in Long Island Sound, the Westport Police Marine Unit was activated,” said Wolf.

In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) were notified, Wolf said, adding that the Coast Guard advised it would send vessels to aid in the search.

“The Westport Police Marine Unit was the first one to arrive in the area and began checking the waters,” said Wolf.

“But shortly after the search began, an officer stationed on Soundview Drive was approached by a male who stated that the kayak that had washed up on the beach belonged to him, he said.

“The person explained that he and a family member, who was in a separate kayak, launched in Southport and had planned to boat to Westport,” said Wolf.

“He said that shortly after he got underway he was thrown from the kayak as the water was extremely choppy.”

The kayaker said he had grabbed the paddle, which helped him get back to shore at at the Sherwood Island State Park.

“Although the kayaker had been in the water for an extended period of time, he appeared to be uninjured and declined medical attention,” Wolf said.

“It should be noted that the kayaker was wearing a personal flotation device, and it likely played a big part in this positive outcome.”

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Posted 05/13/17 at 02:45 PM  Permalink



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