Many kayakers rescued from Minnesota River in 24 hours
(FOX 9) – In two separate incidents over a 24-hour period, a total of five kayakers have now encountered trouble on the Sauk River in Stearns County amid strong currents brought on by recent heavy rains.
The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday rescued two kayakers who overturned their kayaks in the river and were stranded in a grove of trees in the middle of the river, unable to make it ashore, according to a news release.
Authorities responded to the Sauk River near County Road 121 in Waite Park at 4:09 p.m., where they rescued a husband and wife, both 49, from St. Cloud with the aid of an airboat.
RELATED: High river level floods Waite Park Restaurant
The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office is urging caution amid flooding and flooding in the area. (Stearns County Sheriff’s Office)
The couple had launched their kayaks from Rockville and during their trip, the husband turned around to check where his wife was and hit a tree causing his kayak to capsize. His wife then tried to pull over to help him, causing his kayak to capsize.
The couple were treated on the spot and then went to the hospital.
RELATED: Minnesota officials urge caution on rivers amid high water levels
The previous night, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office said three kayakers, all in their 20s, overturned their kayaks in the river near Heim’s Mill in Le Sauk Township. Witnesses said they hit an object in the river and were ejected from their kayaks.
The three kayakers, who were wearing life jackets, made it to shore. They were examined by paramedics and were not injured.
Currents on the Sauk River have been strong for the past few days due to heavy rain. The Sheriff’s Office encourages paddlers to stay off the river unless they are expert paddlers.
Severe weather last week brought heavy rain to much of Minnesota. These heavy rains are now wreaking havoc on the region’s waterways with many creeks, streams and rivers now around or above flood stage. Heavy rains and melting snow have caused dangerous flooding and flooding on the North Shore, and some counties have declared no-wake restrictions in hopes of preventing shoreline erosion.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends people wear life jackets when boating or paddling in cold water because unexpected falls into water can quickly turn tragic – falling unexpectedly into cold water is a shock to your body, triggering an automatic gasp.
The DNR notes that around 30% of fatal boating accidents occur during the cold water period and in many cases the victims were not wearing life jackets.
In 2021, there were 18 boating fatalities, 69 non-fatal boating accidents and 53 non-boating drownings. As of April 12 this year, one non-fatal boating accident had been reported, according to the DNR. During this incident, a person fell overboard.