75-year-old man nearly drowns; wasn't wearing a life jacket - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

75-year-old man nearly drowns; wasn't wearing a life jacket

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YAKIMA, WA - On May 4th at approximately 9:15 a.m., a 75-year-old male resident of Yakima was fishing from his small boat on Fire Lake on Buena Loop Road.

The man was not wearing a life jacket and when his boat capsized he fell into the water fully clothed, wearing a down jacket. The man was separated from his boat and was struggling to keep his head above water.

Two nearby Good Samaritans fishing out of kayaks were able to reach the man who was sinking and get him to shore. The Good Samaritans did not think they were going to be able to reach the victim before he drowned and were nearly capsized themselves when they reached the victim.

All the man’s gear was recovered and he admitted to failing to have or wear a life jacket. The man also admitted he would have undoubtedly drowned without the help of the Good Samaritans.

This is another classic example of how failing to use legally required safety equipment nearly resulted in the loss of life.

The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance policy for safety vest violations and the man was cited.

As the weather warms, people will be recreating on the local lakes and rivers. Our rivers are currently running near flood stage and are very dangerous. Both lakes and rivers are full of cold water and debris.

If anyone has questions about boating and or water safety they can contact the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at (509)574-2500 and ask to speak to a Boating Deputy. Required equipment for vessels can also be found at http://parks.state.wa.us/988/Boat-Prepared.