Group hosts event celebrating kayaker’s return to water following medical emergency
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – Earlier this month, representatives from Salisbury-based Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT), River Daisy Outdoor Company, LLC, Stanly County Sheriff Department, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) ) and TRLT paddle participant Robert “Bob” Hanley returned to Falls Reservoir with kayaker Russ Kraus to celebrate his return to the water. This is the first time Kraus has been kayaking since suffering a medical emergency while paddling on March 13, 2021 at a TRLT kayaking event.
On March 13, more than 40 paddlers gathered at Falls Reservoir to participate in the inaugural TRLT Paddle Club event. After a detailed safety briefing from Travis Morehead, Executive Director of the TRLT and NCWRC Officer David Ritzheimer, NCWRC Wildlife Officer, participants began the 2 mile paddle to see the historic Narrows Dam and then return to the site. launch.
On the way home, participant Bob Hanley heard calls for help from the shore. He and Travis Morehead, executive director of the TRLT, began paddling towards passers-by ashore waving to them to help. As they got closer, they realized that a kayak had overturned and the paddler was not in sight. Bob Hanley jumped into the water and began to straighten the kayak and bring the kayaker, identified as Russ Kraus, back to the surface. “As I pulled it up [Kraus] and I went back to my kayak, I turned and there was the John Boat, ”Hanley recalls. “Just being a part of this rescue effort was really, really amazing.”
NCWRC Officer David Ritzheimer and Stanly County Sheriff’s Deputy Darnell Almond attended the kayaking event and also heard the distress calls. They immediately attended the scene and were able to shoot Kraus at the patrol boat. Ritzheimer recounts the moment they reached Kraus. “We were able to reach the participant and pull him onto the deck of the boat. Unfortunately, Mr. Kraus had no pulse and he was not breathing. We immediately started CPR, radioed emergency responders, and returned to launch. When we returned he started to breathe, had a strong pulse, and about a minute and a half later the ambulance arrived.
“Mr. Kraus suffered a medical emergency while paddling. This emergency was reportedly caused by a previous injury, which knocked Russ unconscious and slid into the water. Rescue efforts Bob Hanley, Officer Ritzheimer and Deputy Almond are what made this story successful, ”said Travis Morehead, Executive Director.
During the reunion celebration, Kraus and other attendees returned to the water to kayak Falls Reservoir again. As a long-time kayaker, Kraus will continue to enjoy the region’s waters safely.
If you’re looking for a way to connect with the outdoors, consider joining one of Three Rivers Land Trust’s interest groups. Whether you enjoy paddling, hiking, archery, or bird watching, TRLT has you covered! For more information on TRLT interest groups, visit https://threeriverslandtrust.org/interest-groups or https://www.facebook.com/3riverslandtrust to learn more.
To become a member and support TRLT in its conservation mission, please contact Michael Fulk, Associate Director, at 704-647-0302 or [email protected]
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