Teenage Kayaker Doing Well After Lake McDonald Mishap

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Date: August 6, 2009
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406-888-7895

The family of the 13-year-old boy from St Paul, Minnesota, who was rescued Tuesday evening after his kayak overturned says he is doing well.  The boy’s grandfather, Don Cox, also of St Paul, MN, says the 13-year-old was taken to North Valley Hospital Tuesday evening shortly after being rescued.  He was examined and determined to be in good health.  The teen was able to return to the family’s summer home on Lake McDonald that evening.

The Cox family asks that the media respect their privacy as they process and deal with the emotional impacts this experience had on them and their grandson.  Don Cox says “Our family is very appreciative of the effort put forth by both the park service and all the emergency responders.  They put their own lives at risk during the search and rescue effort, and we thank them.  They did everything right.”

The teenager went kayaking on the north end of Lake McDonald sometime after 2pm Tuesday August 4, 2009.  The grandfather notified park rangers around 3pm that he could not see the boy on the lake, and was worried because the water was very choppy, with waves estimated as high as six feet.  Numerous agencies assisted the park with a search and rescue effort.  Shortly after 6pm, the boy was spotted by the DeSmet, a tour boat operating on Lake McDonald.  The boat was operating close to shore because of the weather conditions, and the captain was aware of the search.  The teen told the rangers he was capsized by a large wave and was unable to stay with the kayak.  He swam to the far shore of the lake, assisted by the strong winds.  He was wearing a personal floatation device and a “shorty” style wet suit.  He said he was so tired and cold when he got out of the water that he crawled into a hollow log to warm up.  He told rangers that he fell asleep in the log for about an hour.  After waking up, he heard the boat, went near the shore, and waved his arms to be seen.

Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that personal flotation devices save lives, as indicated in this case, and that water-related accidents are the number one cause of death in Glacier National Park.  For more details on water preparedness, go to www.nps.gov/glac.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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