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Jul 26, 2021

WHFD Assists in Search For Kayaker In Distress
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By Chief Robert Peacock
June 13, 2021

Watch Hill Firefighters responded mutual aid along with the Pawcatuck Fire Department and the US Coast Guard to assist the Stonington Borough Fire Department with a report of a kayaker in distress off Stonington Point.

A call to Guilford Police in Connecticut was relayed to Stonington Police in Connecticut that a caller had received several automated text messages from a friend indicating the friend was in distress. The automated messages advised the recipient to call the Police and included Latitude and Longitude coordinates which initially put the location as near Stonington Point.

During the search, additional automated text messages gave varying coordinates leading to expanding the search areas to include Stonington Harbor, an area near the Stonington Breakwater, an area near Napatree Point in Rhode Island, and an area near Fishers Island in New York.

Watch Hill Fire Department Marine 100 and Marine 101 responded to assist along with Pawcatuck Fire Department vessel and a New London Connecticut Based Coast Guard Vessel while the Stonington Borough firefighters established a command post at Stonington Point and began a visual search of the shoreline. US Coast Guard Sector Long Island coordinated the search.

After n extended search, Watch Hill Firefighters located the kayaker in a group of other kayakers near Sugar Reef in Fishers Island Sound off Watch Hill Point in Rhode Island.

The kayaker was not in distress and an investigation revealed that her Apple phone that was stored in a dry bag in the kayak had apparently malfunctioned and had begun texting the automated messages to her stored "In Case of Emergency" contacts.

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