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Young kayakers rescued at Deception Pass

A Coast Guard helicopter lets out two kayak instructors at Whidbey General Hospital Thursday. The instructors and seven children were rescued by Coast Guard and Navy personnel and transported to the hospital after they were separated while kayaking near Deception Pass. No one was hurt.  - Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
A Coast Guard helicopter lets out two kayak instructors at Whidbey General Hospital Thursday. The instructors and seven children were rescued by Coast Guard and Navy personnel and transported to the hospital after they were separated while kayaking near Deception Pass. No one was hurt.
— image credit: Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Seven kayaking students were temporarily missing near Deception Pass Bridge Thursday afternoon but were found uninjured.

Two instructors took their class of 12-year-olds and temporarily lost sight of them “due to whatever reason,” according to Ed Wallace from the Island County Sheriff’s Department.

Wallace said that Navy Search and Rescue and officials from Washington State Parks, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and the Coast Guard responded to the report.

Two helicopters were used in the search.

Every student was found, and no injuries were reported.

George Degener with the Coast Guard said that both the Coast Guard and Navy deployed air crews to search for the students.

Degener said the Navy also sent a rescue swimmer to help the students into their helicopter, then joined the two adult instructors who were on shore to help them into the Coast Guard’s helicopter.

“This is a great example of how the two services are able to work together,” Degener said.

Degener said the helicopters airlifted the boys and their instructors to Whidbey General Hospital, but only as a precaution.

Following the incident, Degener said he would urge all kayakers to make sure they possess the necessary safety equipment before heading out.

Because the boys’ instructors had radios, he said, they were able to receive help from emergency services a lot faster than if they’d only been carrying cell phones.

Degener said that, of the total of nine kayaks, five were secured on the beach, and two that were adrift were recovered. However, two kayaks were apparently still adrift and could pose a problem to navigation.

Degener said anyone who spots the kayaks should alert the Coast Guard so they can try to retrieve them.

If you have any information about the kayaks, contact the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound at 206-217-6001.

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