Gusty winds capsize kayaks, force event participants to shore at Lake McConaughy
OGALLALA - Kayakers had to be rescued when strong southwest winds picked up during an event at Lake McConaughy Saturday in Keith County.
Keystone-Lemoyne Fire Rescue says they rescued an individual whose kayak capsized along Kingsley Dam. The female kayaker was in the water for over 10 minutes. They also rescued two other people off the rocks on the dam.
The individuals were transported to shore and treated for hypothermia at two Ogallala Community Hospital Ambulances.
The incident happened during the "Kayak Big Mac 2022" fundraiser for water projects locally and internationally. The event, which started at 9:30 a.m., is hosted by the Ogallala Rotary Club. The funds raised for the event went to help finish the installation of the Collister water fountain and to the Keystone-Lemoyne Fire Department.
Kayakers were scheduled to paddle three miles across the dam in a group paddle. Participants enjoyed donuts for breakfast and chili for lunch around a fire.
Attendees say the weather was calm to start in the morning, but the wind started to pick-up during the late morning and early afternoon.
According to the National Weather Service office in North Platte, winds were forecast Saturday to gust up to 30-40 mph. The strongest wind gust of 43 mph was reported at 1:55 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.
In a press release, Keystone-Lemoyne Fire Rescue said those in the water were very lucky rescue boats were there. They reported those in the water did not have on wet suits.
No rescuers were injured and no equipment was damaged during the incident.
The Nebraska Game & Parks and Lake McConaughy Dive Rescue also reported to the scene.