Zionsville Boy Scouts help rescue men after kayaks capsize on Mississenewa

Boy Scouts save fishermen
Boy Scouts help save kayakers

PERU, Ind. (WTHR) — Some Boy Scouts and others are being credited with coming to the aid of two men whose kayaks capsized.

It was a quiet, cold Saturday on Lake Mississinewa. Some were on the water. Some were in the woods. And it's fortunate that one group could hear the other.

"(We) planned out the trail and we all took the hike around the Blue Heron trail. That's when we heard the shouts for help," said Boy Scout Sam Byatt, one of several campers there from the Troop 69.

The Scouts and adult leaders with Zionsville's Troop 69 couldn't have known that being trained in emergency response would pay off for two strangers that day.

"We kind of saw the kayak actually tip over. It was kind of frightening to see," said Scout Bennett McAfee.

"We couldn't make it out at first, but eventually we heard 'help!'" said Elijah Stukenborg, also a Boy Scout.

Two men — strangers — were in the water after their kayaks capsized.

Be prepared? These Scouts were.

"One of the boys charged with leading the actual hike had a map. He was able to show on the map where we were, so talking to 911, we could tell them exactly where we were," said Jay Byatt, Sam's dad. He was also able to easily tell authorities the locations of the victims.

Two scouts then volunteered to head to the closest boat dock to the victims to look for rescue craft.

Scott Stukenborg said the scouts had a watery obstacle, but just forded through it, chest deep in 40 degree water just to make it to the boat ramp and summon someone with a boat.

As the scouts heard the calls, so did two men in a fishing boat on the water. "It was scary to see the two guys in the water," one of the men, who wished to remain anonymous, said. "The first guy was a little hard to get in (the boat) because he slipped out of my buddy’s hands," he said. "The first guy was shaking pretty bad. Took off my coat and covered them up. Then went and got the other guy."

The scouts said one of their guys was there with a blanket too. Everyone was racing to prevent hypothermia from setting in.

"We found the situation, we saw what was happening. That's exactly what we were being prepared for," Sam said.

"Like I say as an adult leader it was great to see our group come together and everyone do their part," said Jay Bhatt. "It’s the kind of stuff we train for, emergency response, to actually watch it happen in a real situation was kind of neat."

Police say the victims were taken to hospital, checked for injuries and hypothermia then released.

Besides having prepared rescuers in the area, the victims had something else going for them. They were wearing flotation devices.

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