CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — Earlier this month, rough waves in Canandaigua Lake left three kayakers overturned and fighting for their lives.
They say it was about 40 minutes of struggling to stay afloat – and preparing for the worst. Luckily, they’re all alive today, and say it wouldn’t have been possible without the help they got.
“It gets really, really bad in a matter of seconds,” said Ramin Faraji.
He and his wife Joyce Miyake-Faraji headed out on kayaks on Canandaigua lake with two friends, when waters got rough. All but one ended up overturning. Ramin was the only one with a life jacket.
“Me and my friend Marco were holding on this capsized kayak, we were almost in the middle of the lake,” said Joyce.
Joyce was the only one who remained upright. Her friend, hanging onto her boat, and the two others, lost from her sight.
“We were trying to paddle towards them, they were hanging onto Ramin’s capsized kayak,” she said. “I was crying, screaming, I didn’t want to give up,” she said.
Then she remembered her cell phone on her. All it took was one phone call to 911 – sending officers to their exact location right away.
“A cell phone was instrumental in this,” said Sgt. Michael Rago with the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department. Rago and Deputy Martin both responded to the rescue.
According to officials, the water temperature was 59 degrees, the wind was gusting upwards of 35 mph and where the incident occurred the lake depth is approximately 150 feet deep.
Rago said few passing boats heard the shouts and stopped to help. Joyce and Ramin describe it as help coming from all different angles, rescuing them in a matter of minutes.
“There was another boat that came by to help, and they said, ‘I thought you were just having fun,'” said Joyce. Their cries and waving arms were mistaken for fun, at first. That’s why the two say they’re going to be better prepared next time.
Sgt. Rago says life jackets are extremely important and to make sure you know how to up-right a boat when it overturns, and practice doing it in safe waters with supervision.
“Have that safety stuff you’re required to have.” He added to keep a personal flotation device with you and hand put to pump the water out incase a kayak does overturn.
Rago says situations like this are why he does what he does and sometimes, he doesn’t have to do it alone when other citizens step in.
The couple said they may not be going out on the water anytime soon, but added they have a whole new outlook on life and are eternally grateful for kindness of all who helped.
Their two friends received medical treatment at a nearby hospital and are recovering as well. One of them dislocated a shoulder in the process.
Ramin and Joyce thank Thompson Hospital, Cheshire Fire Department and Canandaigua Ambulance for assisting on scene. They’re unsure the names of the families who assisted on passing boats, but say their warmth and kindness made all the difference.