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Rescuers find lost kayaking kids on Whidbey

Seven kayaking students were temporarily missing near Deception Pass Bridge Thursday afternoon, but were found uninjured.

Two instructors took their class of 12-year-olds and temporarily lost sight of them “due to whatever reason,” according to Ed Wallace from the Island County Sheriff’s Department.

Wallace said that state parks, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, the Coast Guard and Navy Search and Rescue responded to the report, and a helicopter was launched for the search.

Every student was found, and no injuries were reported.

George Degener with the Coast Guard said that both the Coast Guard and NASWI deployed air crews to search for the students. Degener said the navy sent down a rescue swimmer to help the students into their helicopter, then joined the two adult instructors on shore to help them into the Coast Guard’s helicopter, joining them.

“This is a great example of how the two services are able to work together,” Degener said.

Degener said the helicopters took everyone to Whidbey General Hospital, but only as a precaution.

He went on to say that they urge all kayakers to make sure they have the necessary safety equipment, and that because the instructors had radios, they were able to receive help from emergency services a lot faster than if they’d only had cell phones.

Degener said that five of the kayaks were secured on the beach, and two were found adrift, but two are still adrift and could pose a problem to navigation, so he said anyone who spots the kayaks should alert the Coast Guard so they can try to retrieve them.

 

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