KSDK – Emergency responders were dispatched to two different water rescues Saturday. One involved a family on Creve Coeur Lake, and the other a kayaker on the Mississippi River near Cliff Cave Park.
Even in perfect conditions, the Mississippi River is treacherous. But three experienced kayakers were up for the challenge. They took off near the Arch Saturday morning, with plans to meet in Arnold in the afternoon.
One of them, though, didn't make it to the spot as he had planned.
"I got caught by about three different waves at the same time," Randy Haynes said. "You could say it was the perfect storm."
He was thrown into the cold river.
"I thought I was going to die," he said.
But his training set in. He kept his head above water for half an hour, before he was finally able to get to shore at Cliff Cave Park.
"It's about doing what you gotta do to stay alive," he said.
Just hours later, at Creve Coeur Lake, the wind tipped a canoe carrying a man, woman and baby.
Several people rushed to help, and the family made it out safely.
Two close calls prompted an important reminder about the importance of water safety.
"We always want to make sure that if people are going out on the water, they're wearing a life jacket, and, that they know their limits," Kenny Krieg, with the Pattonville Fire Department, said.
"It's important to know what you're capable of and not become overconfident in yourself," he said. "Not to just go out and try something new without any type of training."
Especially on busy waterways like the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
Barge traffic and debris are the type of things Haynes says could have spelled a different ending for a less-experienced kayaker.
"It surely would have killed them," he said, "surely would have killed them."
The Pattonville Fire Department also says your life jacket should fit correctly and be appropriate for your activity.
That goes for anyone in the water, regardless of swimming capabilities.