'He was pretty much just dead weight': RCMP on patrol spot kayaker in distress on Detroit River
WINDSOR, ONT. -- One of the two officers who rescued a Windsor man from the water on Sunday, say it’s just a case of being in the right place at the right time.
On Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m. constable Brian Kukhta was patrolling the water in the Peche Channel, when he noticed two kayakers.
“Something still just wasn’t right,” he says. “So I grabbed the binoculars, looked and it’s like, ‘oh no, ones in the water!’”
As Kukhta and his partner slowly approached the pair, it was clear the 33-year-old was in distress.
“I estimate he was in the water 10 to 15 minutes,” Kukhta says. “But you know, it was time for him to get out.”
He says the man was wearing a life jacket, but he couldn’t zip it up, because he was so cold in the frigid waters of the Detroit River.
“The body’s natural instinct is to pool the blood around the vital organs to keep them as warm as possible. The consequence is that blood stops flowing to your arms and legs,” says Kukhta
The officers threw the man a buoy to get him onto their rescue boat.
“It’s tough to get him in because he couldn’t help that much. He was pretty much just dead weight,” he says. “There’s not much to grab on to, because he’s got a t-shirt and shorts, and a life jacket, that if we pulled on it, would just fly right off.”
The man did get out of the water, and Kukhta says the warm sun helped him recover, as did the heated cab of their boat.
The RCMP says remarkably, the man wasn’t seriously injured, nor did he need to be taken to hospital.
The man with him, never capsized and was able to kayak back to shore.
For Kukhta, Sunday’s rescue reinforced his love for his job.
“You’re there when they needed you and that’s just what it boils down to, all the training, it just pays off.”
But it also serves as another gentle reminder, that life jackets save lives.
“You get in a car, you put your seatbelt on,” Kukhta says. “You get on a boat, put your life jacket on.”