STRONG CURRENT: Kayakers’ River Rescue

The temperatures are warming up but the water in the Des Moines River remains chilly with a fast moving current, as two kayakers learned Sunday afternoon.

A husband and wife were kayaking along the river, when the wife got stuck, the husband quickly paddled over to help but that made things worse, the husband’s kayak capsized sending him into the 50 degree water.

It happened around 2:30 p.m. near the Kate Shelley Bridge near Boone.

A beautiful day along the river, quickly turned into a dangerous situation, “There is enough water in the river that the current is a lot stronger than you might think and in a small kayak they got off track and got up against a brush pile, rift-raft pile,” explained Boone Sheriff Deputy Brian Pontius.

Mike Dahl works for Seven Oaks, the company that rented out the boats. He heard what had happened and raced to the scene and called 911, “’For about an hour he was sitting on a log holding on to her boat about 10 feet out and if he would have let go she would have been sucked under and he very well could have been too.”

The Boone County sheriff’s office and search and rescue tied a rope to the kayak and were able to pull them both to safety.

“Both of them are doing pretty good, the male he`s a little cold maybe hypothermic, but the female is fine. She was in her boat the entire time, so good turn out, “said Dahl.

Dahl says although kayaking is a safe and fun activity, knowing the dangers of fast moving water is a big part of being out on the water, “Fast moving water – a big thing is you don`t know how powerful it is, you don`t know what`s underneath and if you get caught up on logs you`re going underneath it`s how the water works, it`s very dangerous, very fast, and a lot more power than people know.”

The sheriff’s office says it was the quick response and quick thinking that helped make a successful rescue in some very dangerous conditions.

“I would have to say that was a perfect rescue, that`s as good as we can get, everybody`s out, he`s cold but we can live with that and I think he can live with that,” said Pontius.

After being checked out by paramedics the couple was cleared to go.

Rescue workers say the pair were shaken but otherwise will be fine.

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