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|07-08-2013, 10:32 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Leesburg, GA
Friend Saved 3 lives
A good friend of mine captain Joel saved 3 lives Friday. Here was the write up in the Tallahassee Democrat
The battering winds and rain Friday left two young kayakers awash in Ochlocknee Bay.
Luckily Joel Wier was nearby to assist the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office in rescuing the two Tallahassee residents and their father who tried to help them.
According to Wakulla County Sheriff Charlie Creel, a 17-year-old male and a 14-year-old female were clinging to their vessel, which had capsized due to high winds and heavy rains, when their father, Edward Brent Zapata of Tallahassee, jumped from the bridge spanning the river near Mashes Sands to assist them.
WCSO Lt. Mike Kemp and Deputy Sean Wheeler responded to the scene where Kemp summoned the WCSO search and rescue boat, but contacted Wier, who is a fishing captain and friend to several officers, to assist when he felt the increasingly severe rain and rough water made waiting for the WCSO vessel a serious hazard for the struggling swimmers.
“We had no business being out there trying to rescue them,” Wier said, noting the severe weather conditions caused by the evening storm which swelled 4- to 5-foot seas in the mouth of the river.
Wheeler maintained visual contact with the three swimmers, while Wier, who lives along the river, gathered and ported them to land without incident or injury.
Wier said the three swimmers looked shocked and in panic when they were pulled into the boat, but Zapata was the one he was most worried about. “He looked winded,” Wier said. “Here you are, you can see land and there’s nothing you can do. It could have been very, very bad.”
WCSO Public Information Officer Keith Blackmar said the Sheriff’s vessel could have taken another 15 to 20 minutes to arrive under the inclement conditions.
Wier said Kemp told him the conditions, mixed with the fatigue of swimming, could have proven deadly for the swimmers. “(Mike) said they may not have made it if I hadn’t gone out there,” Wier said.
This is not the first time Wier has helped boaters facing a harrowing situation — he saved a group off of Key West when their boat was sinking.He said he was just glad to offer his assistance to people in need.
“I didn’t have to go out there during that storm and help those people,” Wier said. “I just wanted to help out the community that I live in.”
Creel said for his lieutenants to have the foresight to recognize the WCSO boat would not be available in time for the rescue, and then make the call for assistance to someone like Wier, just shows what kind of people staff the WCSO and live in the Wakulla community.
“I can’t be more proud than for a citizen of our community to go out and assist us like this,” Creel said. “I’ve also got to commend my lieutenants. It’s unbelievable that this happened the way it did.”
|07-08-2013, 11:59 PM||#2|
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Montgomery, AL
WTF? Really? Kayaking in THAT? Wow....
Kudos to the good captain.
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