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No injuries after SAR teams called out to report of kayaker in distress on Kootenay Lake

Nelson SAR searched Kootenay Lake Sunday morning after it was reported that a kayaker had possibly drowned. — Nelson SAR photo

Swiftwater Rescue technicians from Nelson and South Columbia Search and Rescue received some first-hand training after a man on a kayak was reported in distress late Saturday evening.

The call came into Nelson SAR 7:42 p.m. Saturday of a person in a boat experiencing trouble with their boat taking on water while crossing Kootenay Lake.

“We were called out by number of messages that a small vessel in water was struggling and the person floundering person had possibly drowned,” said Lindsay Eastwood, Manager for Nelson SAR.

Eastwood said the man had kayaked over to Tye on Kootenay Lake Saturday and was heading back toward Kuskanook (Harbour) when it was reported by witnesses and High Terrain helicopters the person was seen struggling in the large waves due to the extreme weather.

Helicopters were in the area assisting with the Janzen Creek wildfire near Kuskanook.

SAR teams from Nelson and South Columbia waited until first light before heading out due to darkness.

Nelson SAR boated from Nelson to the Tye area while two members from South Columbia attended via the Next Creek Forestry road with their boat.

Crews searched for most of the morning and into the afternoon before getting word the kayaker had returned to the Kuskanook Harbour destination safely.

“The man did everything right,” Eastwood said. “He was prepared for the outdoors, had all the proper training and right equipment for his trip . . . and the community was there looking out for him by reporting the incident.”

Nelson SAR was able to confirm later Sunday before ending the search the kayaker was safe with no reported injuries.

A total of 13 members from Nelson and South Columbia SAR attended.

Search crews head back to base after hearing news that the kayaker reported in distress arrived safe back as the Kuskanook Harbour destination. — Nelson SAR photo