CARTERET COUNTY - An elderly kayaker is reported missing when he doesn't return by dark. Rescue crews are called in to begin a search.
The 71-year-old man, who intended to kayak to Harker Island, was reported overdue to by family members at approximately 9 p.m. Thursday when he did not return at dark. A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City and a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Fort Macon searched the area, along with Carteret County Sheriff units.
That's when someone called the Carteret County Sheriff's Office around midnight, saying the missing man had come up to his house north of Harker's Island, looking for help. A sheriff's deputy took the man home after he declined medical treatment.
"Had this gentleman had a means to communicate his situation to first responders and to his family, we could have resolved this situation much more quickly," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Christine Lepere, a command center supervisor at Sector North Carolina. "It's prudent to have a means of communications in case things go wrong as they did in this case."
The Coast Guard recommends boaters using kayaks and canoes make it a regular practice to carry a handheld VHF-FM radio or cell phone when on the water.