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Public Safety

Stranded kayaker saved from Napa River

A stranded kayaker was pulled from the Napa River just south of Trancas Street on Thursday morning, according to Napa City Fire.

The kayaker, identified as a Vallejo man in his 70s, was clinging to a stationary log on the east side of the river after his kayak overturned at about 11:20 a.m.

“The water was moving at a fairly rapid speed due to the recent rains,” said Flight Officer/Paramedic Shaun Bouyea, California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division Air Operations, who was aboard the helicopter that rescued the kayaker from 100 feet in the air.

The man was stranded for about 30 minutes before a cinch rescue collar was lowered to him from the helicopter and he was lifted to safety.

“He seemed to be extremely cold,” Bouyea said. The CHP helicopter landed in a nearby field and transferred him to an AMR ambulance. “He couldn’t stand,” Bouyea said. “We had to assist him to AMR.”

The man, who was equipped with a personal flotation device and wearing a dry suit, was transported to Queen of the Valley Medical Center with “a little bit of hypothermia,” firefighters said.

Bouyea said that it isn’t uncommon for kayakers to get overturned but, in this case, the man was separated from his kayak by at least 100 to 200 feet.

“He’s just lucky that Napa Fire is set up for water rescues and we were available as well,” Bouyea said. “He could’ve been in serious trouble somewhere else.”

The water temperature in the Napa River was 54 degrees Fahrenheit, according to

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Maria Sestito is the former Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She now writes for the Register as a freelancer.

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