Saturday, May 28, 2011

Man Nearly Drowns with Life Jacket By His Side

Water Rescue: The crummy weather may have screwed up your weekend fun in the sun in central Iowa. But it apparently nearly cost one man his life. Thanks to a passerby and a DNR officer, he's still alive. But the incident may offer a lesson, too. The man went into the water with his life jacket by his side but not on his back.


CLEAR LAKE – High winds are being blamed for the capsizing of a boat and a Mason City man needing to be rescued from the waters of Clear Lake early Saturday evening.

Brent R. Radcliffe, 42, was being evaluated at Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa after being rescued from the water approximately 600 feet off the Sea Wall at Clear Lake. He is not believed to have suffered life threatening injuries.

Radcliffe ended up in the water after high winds capsized his 16-foot Jon boat shortly after 5 p.m.. He was in the water approximately 15 minutes before being rescued by the operator of a jet ski, Dustin Cassady, 28, of Clear Lake and a DNR water patrol boat that arrived on the scene at about the same time.

“He (Radcliffe) was very, very lucky. He was just starting to go under when the operator of the jet ski was able to grab his arm and hold him. But if the rescue boat had not been right there too, I don’t think he would have been able to hang on to Mr. Radcliffe much longer and get him to safety,” said DNR Conservation Officer Ben Bergman.

Radcliffe was taken to the hospital by Clear Lake Fire and Rescue Ambulance. Alcohol was not a factor in the incident.

Bergman said the incident is a reminder to other boaters.

“First of all, Mr. Radcliffe was not wearing a life jacket even though there was one sitting right next to him when the boat was capsized. Second of all, boaters really need to be conscious of the conditions. Clear Lake had very high winds at the time of the incident which makes the water very unpredictable,” Bergman said.

The water temperature at Clear Lake on Saturday was only a little over 60 degrees, said Bergman, significantly raising the risk of hypothermia for people who are in the water for an extended period of time.

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