Deputies for the Sheriff’s Department’s Park Bureau might have saved three lives Sunday at Pyramid Lake with their proactive measures.
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A 5-year-old child, his father and a second adult were kayaking in a the main channel and struggling against 25-30 mph wind gusts, when they were spotted by deputies with the Marine Patrol detail.
One of the adults was wearing a life jacket and the other was not, while the small child appeared to be wearing life jacket that was too large for him as only the top of his head was visible, according to a Parks Bureau Nixle report.
As the deputy got within 25-30 yards from the kayak, it flipped over, ejecting all of the passengers into the 50 degree water.
The high wind gusts immediately blew the kayak away and the boaters began to panic, officials said.
The child’s upper body slipped out of his life jacket and was only connected at his waist causing his head to slip under the water.
The deputy saw the child flailing his arms splashing the surface of the water in an attempt to keep his head above water.
The other adult who was not wearing a vest made attempts to help the child, but this only made the situation worse — the man who was wearing the vest was being pushed away from the other two from a current driven by high wind gusts.
The deputy drove his patrol boat alongside the child and the man without the life jacket and safely pulled them into his boat.
He then drove to the second adult and pulled him into the boat.
The child, who was shivering uncontrollably and lips were turning blue was treated for hypothermia. The kayak was recovered and they were all transported to the Pyramid Sheriff’s Dock where the deputies continued to treat the child for hypothermia.
The deputies found that the kayak was only designed to hold two passengers and the life jacket that the child was wearing was “Adult” size.
Jairo Valdes-Velazquez, the man not wearing a life jacket, who was the father of the child on the kayak, was issued a citation for not having enough life jackets on board and for his son not having a properly fitting life jacket.
He was subsequently released on his own recognizance.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Parks Bureau is dedicated to providing a safe and drug free environment at all Los Angeles County Parks.
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Source: Santa Clarita News