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Missing kayakers rescued from the Great Salt Lake

Crews were out late Thursday night looking for two kayakers. Photo courtesy of Erik Bornemeier

GREAT SALT LAKE MARINA — Two missing kayakers have been pulled safely from the Great Salt lake after spending hours in the water.

Search and Rescue boat. Photo courtesy of Davis County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue

According to a video by Davis County Search and Rescue, the kayakers were stranded in the Great Salt Lake for six to seven hours.

Three men started their kayaking adventure on Wednesday with the intention of making it to Antelope Island. They were separated on Thursday when the weather turned sour. One man made it to Antelope Island in the evening and called for help.

Search and Rescue efforts started immediately. Counties pooled together resources in efforts to find the other men.

The second kayaker was located on the west side of Antelope Island, in the water, just after midnight on Friday. The third kayaker was also located in the water, just south of that location, at approximately 1:30 a.m.

Authorities said they were not wearing life jackets. All three men were forced to swim once they lost their boats.

“After being out missing in the water for that long in less than favorable weather conditions, that is just the best news that we could hope for in a situation like this,” said Devon Chavez with the Utah State Parks department. “Great Salt Lake is a big lake. A lot of people don’t realize how large of a body of water it is.”

“Being able to have multiple assets like that all come together for a common purpose in a situation like this is exactly what we feel helped those 3 individuals,” said Chavez.

Search crews said shallow water paired with stormy weather caused high waves.

At approximately 3 p.m., hazardous weather caused the three to instead choose to head toward Antelope Island State Park to avoid increasingly dangerous water conditions. At times, waves on the lake reached seven-feet-tall. The three kayakers became separated from one-another after this change in course.

At 7:30 p.m., one of the men was able to safely make it to the shore of Antelope Island and called for help. Officials located the man and transported him to safety. He is not believed to have sustained any serious injuries and was not transported for medical services.

Search and rescue crews immediately began search efforts for the remaining two men. Utah State Park rangers, along with responders from Davis County, Tooele County, Weber County, and the Utah Department of Public Safety all responded to Antelope Island to assist in the search. Multiple boats, ground units, and helicopters were utilized.

Both of these men were responsive to rescue personal. They were both transported to Davis Hospital and Medical Center for continued evaluation and treatment. The three kayakers were not wearing life jackets at the time of the incident.

The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation would like to thank all of the agencies and personnel involved in the successful search for these individuals.

We would also like to remind visitors that proper planning and outfitting should be essential parts of any outdoor recreation activity. Checking weather conditions, having functioning safety gear, making emergency plans, and ensuring safe practices on the water are all important.