Wivenhoe kayaker lucky to live after fall into chilly water
"IF HE was out there for much longer, he may have fallen unconscious or died."
A day spent on Lake Wivenhoe ended in hospital for a 70-year-old kayaker after choppy waters and wind flipped his boat.
Thrown into the freezing water, the man was unable to climb back into his kayak and had no choice but to float as his friend - another kayaker - called for help at 11.30am Monday.
Esk Police Acting Officer-in-charge Sergeant Luke Rowley and Senior Constable Scott Braunack were first on scene.
"When we got to the boat ramp, we could see them - they were about 500 metres from it," Sgt Rowley said.
The officers noticed two people with boats at the edge of the water and got their attention.
"Both vessels went straight out there, and I was on one and pulled the guy out of the water," he said.
The man had spent 1.5 hours in the water and his temperature had dropped dangerously low.
"He couldn't climb back into his kayak as it had basically half sunk and he couldn't climb into the other kayak for fear of overturning it," he said.
"All he could do was float in the water while his friend called triple-0."
The wind chill and temperature made for a bone-chilling wait for help, with the man's body temperature plummeting to a dangerous 32 degrees.
Sgt Rowley said the man was lucky to make it out of his ordeal alive.
"They were out in the middle of the lake and because of the high wind out there, it was really choppy," he said.
"And he has been subjected to the cold water and the wind - so when we were able to get out to him, his body temperature had dropped a lot."
The man was treated for hypothermia at the scene and was taken to Ipswich Hospital.