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Missing kayakers rescued from Great Salt Lake

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

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

Three men were kayaking Thursday afternoon from island to island but got separated when the weather got bad. One man made it to Antelope Island in the evening and called for help.

The other two were spotted in the water around midnight and then 1:30 AM, one was south and the other west of Antelope Island. They had lost their kayaks. The waves got to be around 8 feet high and they were not wearing life jackets.

“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.

The three Davis County kayakers, all 20-year-old males, had originally set out on their kayaks at noon on Thursday. Their original plan had been to spend the day paddling from island to island.

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. 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.

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.

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.