GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Fire crews rescued four kayakers who were in distress after two of their three kayaks overturned.
Battalion Chief Collin Kelly tells FOX 17 that rescue crews arrived around 4 p.m. after pedestrians saw the kayakers struggling. There were two men each in single-person kayaks and two women who shared a two-person kayak.
The women lost control of their kayak when they went over a coffer dam. One of the men tried to assist them when his kayak flipped.
“We knew the river was at a little bit higher point,” Kellys says, “which may have lead a little bit to where it got them in trouble and people kind of underestimate the power of even the coffer dams that are below the 6th Street dam and it’s not a rare occasion that we get a lot of kayakers in trouble.”
Kelly estimates they were in the water for about 10 minutes before they were rescued. Kelly says it took crews three minutes to arrive on scene from their station on Monroe Avenue.
None of them had visible injuries but the two women were taken to a nearby hospital to be evaluated.
It’s not clear if the kayakers were wearing their life jackets at the time but four life jackets were seen floating in the river after the rescue.
The Grand River’s advisory level was “red” at the time of the incident, according to Kelly. He says people should consider their skill level before they kayak in these conditions and always wear a life jacket.