(Eldorado) A helicopter was needed to help rescue two kayakers in the Eldorado Marsh in Fond du Lac County Sunday. The sheriff’s office says one of the men called to say they were lost while trying to kayak on the Fond du Lac River in the marsh. GPS pinpointed their location, but conditions forced them to use a National Guard helicopter to retrieve them. They were evaluated and released.
Read full press release here:
On Sunday, September 09, 2018, at approximately 4:00pm, the Fond du Lac County Communications Center received a 911 call from a distressed kayaker in Eldorado Marsh. Information received from the kayaker, Roger Uselding, 71, of Fond du Lac, indicated that he and another male kayaker, Steven Schultz, 55, of Fond du Lac, had become disoriented from the branch of the Fond du Lac River that travels through the Eldorado Marsh and were now lost.
Uselding stated that had put the kayaks in on the river in Eldorado and planned to travel east on the Fond du Lac River, which does eventually come into the City of Fond du Lac and into Lake Winnebago. He stated that they had come across numerous obstructions as they approached the marsh and began to traverse the obstructions. He stated that during this they lost track of where they were, had travelled through dense cattails, bogs and obstructions to the point of exhaustion and were completely lost.
The Fond du Lac County Communications Center was able to pinpoint their location by means of GPS coordinates from the 911 call. This location showed them in a small pothole on the west side of Eldorado Marsh approximately 3/4ths of a mile into the marsh due east of Peterson Road. At this point the Eldorado Fire Department, Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office, and Wisconsin DNR set up at the end of Peterson Road to coordinate a response to assist Uselding and Schultz out of the marsh. The subjects were not adequately dressed for an extended, emergency stay and had become wet from their travel. They also did not have any means of navigation to assist themselves out and were physically exhausted.
Attempts were made by the Eldorado Fire Department to reach the subjects, but do to the terrain of the marsh were unable to do so. With no other equipment resources immediately available to the agencies involved, Wisconsin Emergency Management was contacted for assistance. Due to the circumstances, a Wisconsin National Guard helicopter with capabilities to hoist both subjects out of the marsh was dispatched to the scene.
The helicopter, of C Company, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation from West Bend, arrived on scene at approximately 8:15pm. The subjects were quickly located, hoisted, and transported to the Fond du Lac County Skyport. The subjects were evaluated by City of Fond du Lac paramedics and released.
This incident serves as reminder to always know the environment one plans to travel into, whether it be on foot, on water, or machine off road. Always have proper safety, emergency, and survival gear with you in the event you would find yourself in an emergency or survival situation.
Lt. Chris Dobyns