, Corbin, KY

July 8, 2013

Empty kayak prompts search

The Times-Tribune


By Becky Killian / Editor

A water search and rescue prompted by the discovery of an overturned kayak Sunday was quickly resolved when rescuers learned the kayaker had made it safely to shore, according to James Ridener, a Woodbine Fire/Search and Rescue squad member.

The kayak was discovered where Lynn Camp Creek runs into Laurel Lake near the Corbin city dam as Woodbine emergency responders conducted a training exercise. Ridener said the kayak was overturned and the current had pinned it at the base of a tree.

There was a dry box inside the kayak that contained a cell phone. The last message the phone had received was at 3:28 p.m. Sunday asking where the kayaker was. Ridener said the message appeared to be from another kayaker.

At one point, the phone rang and a squad member answered it. Ridener said the call came from another kayaker but the poor cell signal in the area made the call difficult to understand, so it sounded like the caller was saying a kayaker was missing.

After 6 p.m., emergency responders began to gather at the Laurel Bridge Boat Ramp to launch a search and rescue. In addition to Woodbine, Laurel County Search and Rescue and the Fish and Wildlife agency also responded.

Ridener returned to the kayak and, while there, the cell phone rang again. This time, the call was clear and rescuers learned four people had put their kayaks in along Lynn Camp Creek near the Corbin pool. When one of the kayaks overturned in rough water, the woman was able to swim to shore.  All four kayakers were safe.

Ridener said the search effort lasted about a half hour and no emergency responders were injured. He also encourages all kayakers to leave a note in the dry boxes in their kayaks indicating when they put in, their destination and their expected arrival time as well as a cell phone number where they can be reached.