Missing kayakers found alive off the coast of Door County

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 07/11 2014 11:08AM

Updated 07/11 2014 07:45PM

DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - A woman and two nine year olds are safe after spending roughly 15 hours adrift in the bay of Green Bay.

The Door County Sheriff's Department says they are Allison Alter age 43, Zach Alter age 9, both from Austin, Texas and Thomas Alter age 9, Highland Park, Illinois.

The three had rented Kayaks from a facility in Peninsula State Park on Thursday. They left Nicolet Bay around 2:45 pm. They were due to return around 4:00 pm, but did not.

The rental company contacted the Sheriff's Office, who launched a full scale search.

Local and state agencies searched the water by boat and plane until about 10:30 pm, Thursday night.

The Coast Guard Continued to search overnight.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a plane from the Canadian Coast Guard spotted the three around 6:17 Friday morning. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter made the rescue by lowering baskets down to the water.

The three were wearing life jackets, and were inside their kayaks.

They had drifted about 14 miles from Door County and were rescued by Whaleback Shoal, a reef in Michigan waters.

The kayakers were flown to Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette.

Two of the three are being treated for mild hypothermia, according to  rescue crews.

The hospital confirms that all three have been released from their care.

The family says they are grateful for all the efforts of the rescue crews.

On Facebook, the Door County Sheriff's Office posted a thank you message to the following crews:  

Gibraltar Fire Department

Ephraim Fire and Rescue

Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department

Baileys Harbor Fire Department

Sturgeon Bay Police and Fire


Wisconsin DNR

Door County EMS and Emergency Management

United States Coast Guard

Door County Human Services

Red Cross

Several private personnel also assisted such as Jeff Weborg who is a local commercial fisherman.

Numerous other agency's were also notified such as Marinette County Sheriff's Office, Delta County, Oconto County Sheriff's Office and School Craft County.

According to the Coast Guard, the three had tied their boats together to avoid drifting apart, and to form a larger object to be spotted from the air.

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