MINNEAPOLIS — With no lifeguards on Minneapolis public beaches this summer because of the coronavirus, swimmers need to be vigilant. And that was very apparent on Tuesday.
One swimmer nearly drowned on Lake Nokomis, two more nearly drowned on Lake Bde Maka Ska, and a kayaker had to be dragged to shore by another kayaker after overturning in Bde Maka Ska.
The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to two of the rescues. Three of the victims are in critical condition, while the kayaker is expected to be OK.
On Lake Bde Maka Ska, people who rent kayaks have to sign a waiver. If anything bad happens it's up to them and the vigilance of others to prevent tragedy.
"There was a couple of girls looking like they were struggling in the wind to even just get off of the beach, and I was like careful," said Shelby Ryan from White Bear Lake.
Ryan is a strong swimmer. And thank goodness, because Tuesday afternoon, one of the women she warned earlier to be careful overturned her kayak and was clinging for dear life to an anchored sailboat in the lake.
"That's why I jumped in, because I couldn't see her head. "Almost not able to talk to me she was so scared. So, I said, you can float on your back, you have a vest on."
The woman was wearing an orange life vest but wasn't a good enough swimmer in her panicked state. Shelby swam her to another kayak for stability, then walked her to shore.
"I don't think I realized what happened until she hugged me and went weak in the knees and was like oh my god, thank you," Ryan said.
Just a couple hours later, two people swimming near Thomas Beach and another person on Lake Nokomis nearly drowned. There are no lifeguards on Minneapolis beaches this summer because of the Coronavirus.
"By the time we're called, and we get here, something bad has already happened. So we really encourage people to take the appropriate precautions if they are going to swim," said Minneapolis Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner.
"I'm just really happy I was there at the right time," Ryan said.
If she wasn't there at the right time, this would likely be a much different kind of story.
Lake Nokomis – Yesterday in the 6:00 pm hour MFD crews responded to a water rescue at Lake Nokomis. Crews found one victim upon arrival. The victim was transferred to paramedics and transported to an area hospital. Patient was reported to be in critical condition.
Lake Bda Mka Ska – Yesterday at approximately 7 pm MFD crews responded to a report of 2 struggling in the water. Upon arrival, crews found one of the victims on the shore but struggling to breathe. The 2nd victim was still missing and bystanders were searching for the victim. MFD crews searched and found the victim submerged. Crews got the victim in the boat, transported the victim to shore and began CPR. Crews continued CPR in the ambulance enroute to
Officials say two people are being treated at Hennepin County Medical Center after a water incident Tuesday evening at Bde Maka Ska.
According to the Minneapolis Fire Department, they received a call of two people in the water, and when officials arrived, they had to pull one of the individuals from the water and perform CPR before transporting the person to Hennepin County Medical Center.
The other person was able to exit the water on their own, but went to HCMC as a precaution.