Calls went out for an overturned kayak several hundred yards off of Shades Beach around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
According to an eyewitness on the scene, crews identified a yellow kayak in the water, but there was no one inside. Shortly following, the kayak’s owner was found in the water with a lifejacket on and was taken to shore by first responders, who were working in choppy conditions.
Those conditions were so rough that the emergency services boat began to take in water and was beached, which rendered the rescue boat useless.
First responders said the victim suffered a head injury, but due to where the rescue boat was beached, access was limited by the landscape and cliffs surrounding the beach.
According to a post from the US Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, they received a call from the Coast Guard station in Buffalo about the kayaker. Once the helicopter crew arrived on the scene, they assisted first responders and were able to airlift the victim to UPMC Hamot.
Meanwhile, other emergency crews came for the stranded first responders.
“As always, this rescue was a team effort. We are extremely grateful for the coordination by Sector Buffalo and Station Erie as well as the incredible work of the Fuller Hose Fire Department zodiac-boat crew and line crew who provided initial care and assistance in evacuating the patient,” said Lt. Keith Kraker, helicopter aircraft commander.
The kayaker was reported to be in medically stable condition.