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US Coast Guard recognizes 3 ‘Good Samaritans’ for saving 2 kayakers’ lives

The Captain David P. Dobbins Award is presented in recognition of outstanding actions accomplished while performing search and rescue missions on the Great Lakes.
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - The U.S. Coast Guard honored three “good Samaritans” Wednesday for a rescue in Lake Superior last year.

Taletha Witty, Cole Whitehead, and Kate Faust are crew members of the Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours in Munising, and the latest recipients of the Captain David P. Dobbins Award from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Their quick thinking saved the lives of two kayakers on September 20, 2020.

“It was 32 mph gusting winds from the south, and we noticed two kayakers on the Northeastern side of Grand Island, and they were paddling hard into the wind,” said Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour Captain Kate Faust.

Witty kept an eye on the kayakers and saw them signaling for help.

“We altered our course and we readied the man overboard apparatus,” Faust said.

Glass Bottom Shipwreck Captain Taletha Witty said, “When I got out there and saw the arms crossed, I immediately flipped and felt the adrenaline kick in.”

Glass Bottom Shipwreck Deck Hand Cole Whitehead said, “She [Taletha] runs down the stairs, I can hear her barreling down the stairs. So then, she tells me, she points them out to me, and then I go upstairs, and I get on the Winch.”

Within 14 minutes, the men and their kayaks were on the boat and safe.

“We got them on board. As soon as we did that, we found medical personnel that was on our boat, checked them out, and once they were all good, we gave them some water and we continued our tour. They wanted to see the rest of the shipwrecks,” Witty said.

Captain Faust said her crew and staff train for these situations, and that preparation kicked in to make the rescue happen.

“Focus on what’s important and look at one thing at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once,” Whitehead said.

Which is what the three crew members did when they found themselves in the right place at the right time - moving swiftly to save the lives of two kayakers.

The Captain David P. Dobbins Award is presented in recognition of outstanding actions accomplished while performing search and rescue missions on the Great Lakes.

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