Running aground is a fear of all boaters, but sometimes areas become so silted-in that even paddlecraft don’t stand a chance. A kayaker on the Choptank River learned that the hard way last Thursday, as he became stuck and was ultimately rescued by state police helicopter.
The adult male kayaker was on the river near Chapel Branch, in Denton, Md. on the Eastern Shore mid-day Thursday when he became stranded along the shoreline and couldn’t return to navigable waters. Due to silt, wind and an outgoing tide, the kayak wouldn’t budge. When the 911 call came in, no rescue crew was able to reach the kayaker by boat. Marydel Volunteer Fire Company, who were dispatched to help in the rescue, were unable to approach even with a jon boat. Maryland Natural Resources Police also launched but couldn’t get to the man.
With the water temperature around 44 degrees, the kayaker would have been in danger if he’d gone into the water.
Maryland State Police Trooper 6 responded by air from Easton just before 1:30 p.m. to conduct a precarious aerial rescue. State Police Aviation Command crews on the ground communicated with ground rescuers, who relayed instructions to the stranded kayaker. Lowering an empty rescue basket to the man, they instruction him how to climb into the basket. He was safely hoisted 75 feet into the air to the hovering helicopter.
Once he was airlifted back to the river’s edge to waiting EMS crews, he reported he wasn’t injured and refused medical attention.
-Meg Walburn Viviano