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Police say kayaker was partially submerged in Lake Superior for 3 hours

OPP Marine Unit file image. OPP Marine Unit file image.
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A 36-year-old kayaker who was submerged in chilly Lake Superior for three hours this week was rescued, in part, thanks to his smartwatch.

Nipigon Ontario Provincial Police were called around 7 p.m. July 10 to respond to a report of a kayaker in distress.

Police were told the victim “had fallen into the water on Black Bay, near Hurkett on Lake Superior. Members of the Canadian Coast Guard also attended to assist.”

A search was conducted with the Nipigon OPP marine unit and the kayaker was located around 9:15 p.m. and taken to hospital.

“It was reported that this individual had used their smartwatch to contact emergency services, where it was used to locate their exact position,” police said in a news release Tuesday.

“The individual was wearing their personal flotation device, which was vitally important in their successful recovery.”

OPP Const. Matthew Foster told CTV News in an email that it still hasn't been determined how the kayaker ended up in the water. Foster also explained how the GPS on the smartwatch led police to the site.

"The GPS unit sends an emergency alert, where it gives officers a live and updated location," he said.

"So despite having high waves yesterday, the officers were able to go to exactly where the individual was."

The individual required medical attention but has since been released from hospital, Foster added. 

Police want to remind residents of basic safety practices such as learning to swim at an early age; wearing a lifejacket while on a vessel or in water; adult supervision of children while swimming; and, not drinking while boating.

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