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Austin Family Rescued After 15-Hour Search

Updated: Friday, July 11 2014, 10:44 PM CDT
An Austin woman and her 9-year-old son and nephew were rescued from Lake Michigan on Friday after a 15 hour search.

Allison Alter, 43, and the two boys had rented kayaks from a facility in Peninsula State Park on Thursday afternoon, they were due to return around 4:00 pm, but they never did. The rental company called the sheriff's office, and then a full-scale search was launched.

Sheriff Terry Vogel with the Door County Sheriff's Department said the rescue was nothing short of a miracle.

"The distance that they drifted, and that they were out that period of time, it was next to a miracle that they were found alive to be quite frank about it," Vogel said.

Overnight 12 different agencies combed the entire bay of Green Bay. There was a total of 17 searches throughout the night.

But, somehow, rescue crews found the needle in the haystack.

Vogel said the family drifted 12 miles before crews finally spotted them near a reef.

"There were eight to ten mile-an-hour winds, it got hold and drifted them out," Vogel said. "Once they got out of the Nicolet Bay area they were at the will of the wind at that point."

But thanks to survival instincts, the family tied the kayaks together to avoid drifting apart and form a larger target for searchers.

"The adult that was with those two children did an outstanding job of keeping everyone together and alive," Vogel said.
Rescuers said they've done operations like this before, but they usually do not have a happy ending like the one on Friday.

Crews said the family was exposed to cold temperatures and did not have protection from the elements, so they were treated for hypothermia.

All three were released from the hospital before noon on Friday.

By Cassie GalloAustin Family Rescued After 15-Hour Search

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