Two teenagers were pulled from Lake Erie this afternoon after a good Samaritan saw them treading water and radioed for help, according to a report released by the Coast Guard.
The teenagers were in a rented canoe near Kelleys Island when the vessel began taking on water before sinking.
Neither was wearing a life jacket, the Coast Guard said.
The two teenagers reportedly treaded water for about 45 minutes until they were able to flag down a passing boater, who was unable to pull them onto his boat but instead gave them life jackets.
The good Samaritan then called the Coast Guard around 1 p.m., and a 45-foot rescue boat from the Marblehead station was dispatched. The two teenagers were transported to Kelleys Island State Park.
The current water temperature in Lake Erie near Kelleys Island is 66 degrees, and the teenagers were treated for hypothermia by emergency medical personnel. They were later released.
"These two are lucky to be alive,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Bradley Ropke, the officer of the day at Coast Guard Station Marblehead, in the Coast Guard report.
“Not only does the Coast Guard urge all boaters to wear a life jacket at all times, we also recommend dressing for the water temperature and not the air temperature.”
Lauren Laughlin, a spokeswoman for the Ninth Coast Guard District office in Cleveland, said the Coast Guard responded to 119 emergency calls last weekend across all five Great Lakes, for reports ranging from a floating life jacket that might have indicated a missing person to rescues. The Marblehead station alone receives "two or three calls per day" for assistance, she said.
The Coast Guard will be fully staffed for this long holiday weekend, Laughlin confirmed.