The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 7:23 p.m.

2 NAS Whidbey sailors drown while kayaking

OAK HARBOR — Two enlisted men from Texas and California were not equipped for cold and windy northern waters when they went halibut fishing from kayaks and drowned not far from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, the Island County sheriff's office said.
The men were in 10-foot, open, lake-style kayaks, one wearing jeans and the other shorts. They wore recreational life vests. Although the air temperature was 70 Saturday afternoon, the water temperature was 52 degrees, and winds were blowing about 20 mph, Det. Ed Wallace said.
The two launched on the west side of the island about 10 miles south of the air station where currents from the Strait of Juan de Fuca are treacherous, he said.
No one knows exactly what caused them to capsize. The bodies and overturned kayaks were found Sunday morning. The cause of death was salt water drowning with hypothermia, Wallace said.
Both men were assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 129 at NAS Whidbey: Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Joseph Tindol Lee, 21, of Kingsville, Texas, and Aviation Machinist's Mate Third Class Vinson Cagzoo Ya, 25, of Sacramento, California.
The men had set out about 4 p.m. and expected to return before dark at 9 p.m., Wallace said.
Someone living on the waterfront bluff heard cries for help about 9:45 p.m. Fire department rescuers and a Coast Guard helicopter searched but found nothing that night, Wallace said.
People walking on the beach about 6 a.m. Sunday found Ya's body. Deputies found his kayak about a quarter-mile away.
As the coroner was recovering the body with a fire department boat, they found Lee's body in the water about a half-mile away, and his kayak was later found on the beach.
The men had fishing gear with them, but it's unknown if a halibut caused the accident or if one or both of them capsized in the wind or if one died trying to help the other. The deaths are a reminder to be adequately equipped for the waters, Wallace said.
"Their kayaks were made more for calm waters, not ocean," he said. Their life vests were a design that didn't keep the face above water.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.