Lake Michigan boaters capsize
Written by Kenosha News   
Sunday, 15 May 2005 14:10

Educated Angler members be thankful that three of our own made it through this.? Please check and re-check your emergency equipment and know what to do with it.

Three men were pulled from the chilly waters of Lake Michigan Saturday after their boat capsized.

All were suffering the effects of hypothermia, according to the Coast Guard, though their conditions and names were unavailable.

The Coast Guard responded to the boat's mayday call at 6:35 p.m. The craft, a 19-foot outboard motor boat, was 4.4 miles east of the Kenosha harbor and taking on water when the Coast Guard arrived, according to Petty Officer Mike Ryner.

The three men, who were in their 40s and 50s, Ryner said, were pulled from the water at 6:50 p.m. They were wearing life jackets and had been in the 50-degree water about 15 to 20 minutes, Ryner said.

"They were very hypothermic," Ryner said, noting that the air temperature was 51 degrees.

Once on the Coast Guard vessel, the men were treated for hypothermia and shock and were transferred to a Kenosha Fire Department ambulance, which took the men to Kenosha Medical Center.

Why the boat capsized is unknown, Ryner said, though he said it wasn't due to a mechanical problem. Waves were 2-3 feet at the time coming out of the west. Ryner said that for this time of year and the size of boat, 4.4 miles would be considered very far off shore.

According to Ryner and Petty Officer Chris Rymut, every minute counts when it comes to the chilly waters of Lake Michigan.

"You will die from this (hypothermia)," Rymut said. "Hypothermia sets in in minutes - at this temperature, probably five minutes before it sets in and 15 minutes before it gets really bad. These guys were on the verge."

However, hypothermia varies with each person.

"It depends on the size of the person and how long they've been in the water," Ryner said.

Once the men were pulled from the water, they were stripped of their wet clothes and treated for hypothermia and shock, Rymut said.

"It's important to keep them talking and keep them awake," Rymut said.

Rymut declined to give an assessment of the men's condition.

With fishing season now open, Ryner cautioned anglers and boaters to be aware of conditions on the lake before setting out.

"The weather conditions can change quickly," he said.

You need to login or register to post comments.