Kayakers escape drowning, rescued from rough waters at Tahoe

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jeff McCaskill took a video last year of a rescue at Lake Tahoe (screenshot attached). He said the video showed conditions on the lake that were similar to Friday’s rescue, where water was breaking over the cabin of the boat, as a testament to the poor lake conditions.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A pair of local residents were fortunate to not drown last week in Lake Tahoe after rough water caused their kayaks to capsize near Sand Harbor State Park.

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jeff McCaskill on Monday said the department’s rescue boat, Marine 9, was out on Lake Tahoe, “doing what it does, patrolling the waters and enforcing the rules” when at about 2 p.m. Friday, May 27, personnel spotted what looked like heads or bodies in the water near the rocks at Sand Harbor.

“The waves were so intense it was difficult for them to see,” McCaskill said.

At about the same time Marine 9 responded, the department received a call from Sand Harbor lifeguards requesting assistance.

Emergency personnel from both agencies arrived at about the same time and saw the two kayakers, who were wearing life vests, clinging to rocks, McCaskill said.

With the area known for shallow rocks and water, Sand Harbor lifeguards used jet skis and a rescue sled to bring the kayakers to Marine 9.

“The captain of our boat is very proficient at getting us where we need to be,” McCaskill said. “But we utilized Sand Harbor’s jet ski and rescue sled to get them to the boat.”

Once on the boat, both subjects showed signs of hypothermia, one a bit worse than the other, McCaskill said.

McCaskill said the subjects were treated on the boat and transferred to North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District at Sand Harbor who then continued medical treatment.

The National Weather Service in Reno on Friday had a lake wind advisory in effect, and also on Saturday, recommending small boats, including paddle boards, canoes and kayaks to remain off the lake until conditions improved.

“They potentially weren’t going to last much longer,” McCaskill said.

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