Canoeists require assistance after storm topples them into the Lake

by Dennis Rahm, photos courtesy of Cheryl Burke

What began as an idyllic start to a several day boating adventure on Lake Chelan quickly turned into a life-threatening situation yesterday afternoon just off 25-mile State Park.

Six Seattle area residents using three canoes all ended up in the water after a quick hitting storm overturned their canoes shortly after they departed from the state park as they were headed across the lake to Deer Point.

Sgt. Chris Foreman of the Chelan County Sheriff’s office says the incident was first reported at 3:44 pm and that a U.S. Forest Service boat stationed in that area was able to respond quickly and safely rescue the boaters. According to Foreman, none required medical attention.

Fortunately, the canoeists were all wearing flotation devices. Foreman and Sgt. Jerry Moore responded in Marine 1 from Chelan and arrived on the scene to assist in the retrieval of the boats and gear including dry bags, coolers, and one of the tents.

Sgt. Foreman reports that the boats capsized as the group tried to return to shore when the storm hit while they were only about 300-yards offshore. Foreman says that when Marine 1 arrived on scene the rollers on the lake were three to four feet with some five footers.

Most of the group’s belongings, including all three canoes, were able to be recovered as some of the debris had drifted up to a half mile down lake.

Says Foreman, “it’s a good reminder that when boating on Lake Chelan to wear life vests and to always check the weather”.