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Emergency responders pull stranded Fresno kayaker out of water at Montaña de Oro

Kayaker rescued after clinging to cliff in Montaña de Oro State Park

A Fresno man's kayak was swamped by a wave Saturday, April 1, 2017, forcing him to swim to shore at Montana de Oro State Park. Rescue personnel help him off the bottom of a cliff to safety.
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A Fresno man's kayak was swamped by a wave Saturday, April 1, 2017, forcing him to swim to shore at Montana de Oro State Park. Rescue personnel help him off the bottom of a cliff to safety.

Emergency responders rescued a man near Corallina Cove at Montaña de Oro State Park on Saturday morning after he was thrown from his kayak and stranded on a bluff.

Cal Fire San Luis Obispo spokesman Chris Elms said a call came in shortly after 9 a.m. A group of five kayakers had paddled out to go fishing when “one of them, for whatever reason, decided he was going to return to the shore,” Elms said.

On his way back, the man, Wyatt Hill of Fresno, was caught in the current and waves and pushed toward the rocks, eventually falling out of his kayak. Elms said Hill then was forced to swim to a bluff where he was stuck “with no way to get back to shore.”

A park ranger rescue diver went into the water to assist Hill with getting safely back to shore by 9:50 a.m.

Responding agencies included Cal Fire SLO, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, U.S. Coast Guard Station Morro Bay and the Morro Bay Harbor Patrol.

“(Hill) was evaluated by medics and released,” Elms said.

In an interview with The Tribune after the rescue, Hill said, “I’m glad to be alive.”

Two other kayakers in the group returned to shore “unscathed,” while the remaining kayakers chose to keep fishing, Elms said.

The incident was considered closed at 10:30 a.m.

Elms said the occasion serves as a reminder to be careful when out on the water.

“We’re having high surf right now,” he said.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7929, @andrewsheeler

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