SAND HOLLOW STATE PARK — A man whose kayak capsized while he was fishing on Sand Hollow Reservoir was rescued by state park rangers Monday night.
Sand Hollow State Park manager Jonathan Hunt told St. George News that the man, a 34-year-old Hurricane resident, had been fishing sometime prior to sundown when he tipped over in his kayak and went into the water. He was unable to climb back into the boat, as water had gone inside the chest waders he was wearing, Hunt said. The man didn’t have his cell phone with him, so he hung on to the side of the overturned kayak and begin yelling for help.
About 6:30 p.m., emergency dispatchers received a call from someone on shore who’d heard the man’s cries.
“They heard him yelling and were able to call and say, ‘We’re not sure what he’s yelling (about), but we’re pretty sure somebody needs help,’” Hunt said.
At that point, Hunt and other rescuers, including two rangers and a Hurricane police officer, went out in a boat to try to find the fisherman in distress.
“We saw a flashing light,” Hunt said, adding that boats are required to have an all-around white light enabling them to be seen after dark. “We went toward that light and found him hanging onto his kayak.”
Hunt said the man’s first words were: “Hey, you guys saved my life. I would not have made it much longer.”
Rescuers pulled the man from the water at 6:52 p.m., Hunt said, adding he may have been in the water for as long as two hours. Rangers measured the water temperature at 55 degrees.
“He said it felt like two hours,” Hunt said. “I’m not sure what time he started fishing. Sunset is 5:22. He was getting scared that he would float all night.”
Hunt said three things worked out in the man’s favor and greatly improved his chances for being rescued: He was wearing a life jacket, he had a light on his boat and someone was able to hear him yelling.
Coincidentally, Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher had also been fishing on the reservoir at the same time and reportedly told Hunt he also could hear the man yelling after the rescue had been initiated.
“Sheriff Pulsipher said that as we went around the island, he lost our boat noise, but he could hear the kid yelling clear from here,” Hunt said referring to the boat ramp on the west side. “He tried to call me and say, ‘Hey, I can hear him yelling,’ but he said we’d already turned that way.”
Around 7 p.m. or shortly thereafter, the man and his blue Lifetime kayak were brought ashore aboard the rescue boat.
The man spent some time in a Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue ambulance parked near the west side campground area being medically evaluated before his wife showed up at the scene to take him home.
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