DNR encourages water safety after three Monroe County water rescues Saturday

Contact: Lt. Todd Szyska, 313-396-6890
Agency: Natural Resources

May 24, 2020

kayakers-monroe-05232020Two men are in good condition after their kayaks overturned Saturday afternoon, stranding them along a stretch of the Huron River in Monroe County. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds people to use caution when on or near the water and to always keep safety in mind.

“High water levels are creating strong river currents throughout the state,” said DNR Conservation Officer Nick Ingersoll. “This was one of three water rescues that occurred in Monroe County on Saturday. Please be careful if you’re going out on the water.”

First responders arrived to the Huron River, west of South Rockwood, at 3:25 p.m., just 12 minutes after someone called 911 to report the struggling kayakers. Ingersoll, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department deputies and South Rockwood Police Department officers were able to get both kayakers safely to shore within 30 minutes of the initial 911 call.

Ingersoll said the kayakers, both wearing life jackets, were clinging to a tree in the river and were unable to swim to shore.

Ingersoll climbed down a steep cliff to position himself down river from where the river current was pulling the kayakers. Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies stayed up river and threw the kayakers a ResQ Disc – a device resembling a Frisbee that someone can throw to a person struggling in the water and pull them to shore.  

kayakers-monroe-05232020-2The first kayaker held onto the disc while the sheriff’s deputies lowered him downstream to Ingersoll’s location. When the kayaker was in range, Ingersoll threw him a rope and calmly talked the man through the process as he pulled him to shore.

Next, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department staff tossed a ResQ Disc to the second kayaker and pulled him out of the water. Berlin Township Fire Department medics evaluated both kayakers, found them to be in good, physical condition, and transported the men back to their vehicles.

“Conservation officers throughout the state are prepared for a busy holiday weekend, with nice weather expected for most of the state and many people looking forward to being outside and enjoying Michigan’s natural resources,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “We are prepared to respond wherever we are needed. Please, always use caution when on or near the water.”

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect residents by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

As Michigan moves through the COVID-19 public health emergency, DNR conservation officers remain committed to protecting and supporting their communities. Learn more about officers’ daily work at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.