First responders save woman stuck at base of 100 feet deep riverbank after kayak capsizes in Willoughby Hills

First responders save woman stuck at base of 100 feet deep riverbank after kayak capsizes in Willoughby Hills

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, OH (WOIO) - A man and a woman are safe after their kayaks capsized on the Chagrin River Saturday.

The Willoughby Hills Fire Chief Robert Gandee said a 47-year-old man and 46-year-old woman entered the west branch of the Chagrin River on Rogers Road around 4 p.m.

They were headed to Daniels Park in Willoughby by State Route 84 when their kayaks capsized in the area of Milann Drive in Willoughby Hills, Chief Gandee said.

The chief said the Lake County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call from a resident on Milann Drive at 5:43 p.m. saying a kayaker may have overdosed.

Three minutes later, the caller called 911 again saying a there was not an overdose, but a kayaker needed rescuing, according to the chief.

Chief Gandee said the man was able to swim and make it back to the east bank of the river and found a home on Milann Drive to call 911.

The woman was stuck at the base of a steep riverbank over 100 feet against the west bank of the river, the chief said.

According to the chief, water and technical rescue resources from the Hillcrest Technical Rescue Team, Eastlake, Mentor, and Willoughby Fire Departments were called to help.

The chief said additional support apparatus and manpower from Kirtland, Perry, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Wickliffe and Willowick Fire Departments were also called to the scene to assist in the rescue operation.

The man and the woman both had life jackets with them, according to the chief.

However, the chief said the woman fell out of her life jacket when she capsized.

The man had a life jacket inside the kayak, but was not wearing it when it capsized, according to the chief.

Chief Gandee said both of them were only wearing regular clothing instead of survival suits to protect them from the cold water.

The chief said the man was evaluated and released.

After the woman was rescued, she was transported to Hillcrest Hospital for evaluation from prolonged exposure to the cold water.

Chief Gandee released this public safety announcement after the incident:

With springtime bringing heavy rains the Willoughby Hills Fire Department would like to remind people participating in water sports on swollen rivers, streams or tributaries of the following:

1.Take a course - Learning about the hazards and educating yourself related to the water sport or activity are extremely important to keep people out of trouble and to keep people alive.

2. Wear your lifejacket – Ensure you have the appropriate size and style lifejacket. Wear it! Expect to capsize and the need to swim occasionally.

3. Prepare for cold water – Cold water is extremely dangerous. Make sure you are wearing the proper attire for the activity you are participating in. Water sports have special attire to help keep you safe and warm.

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