Two kayakers rescued from Long Island Sound are taken to Milford Hospital with hypothermia

Milford firefighters rescued two kayakers from Long Island Sound Saturday afternoon.

The two men, whom fire officials estimate to be in their mid to late 20s, have been taken to Milford Hospital to be treated for hypothermia. Both looked alert and responsive as they were taken by stretcher from the Milford Yacht Club to awaiting ambulances.

Milford fire spokesman Chistopher Zak said a person walking at Silver Sands Beach saw the two men head out Saturday afternoon on a two-man kayak from the yacht club, and then saw them struggling in the water. The person called 9-1-1 around 3:30 p.m.

When firefighters arrived at the beach they didn’t see anyone, but Captain Ron Wetmore and Firefighters Bill Laslett and Jeff Hilliard headed out in search of the kayakers in Marine 2, an inflatable rescue boat.

They found the first man in the water suffering from extreme hypothermia, Zak said, and then found the second man on Charles Island, where he had swum after falling from the kayak.

Zak said both men were wearing life jackets. The water was not rough, but it was cold, no more than  40 degrees. Zak speculated that the two men were not experienced kayakers and their lack of skill contributed to the accident.

However, Zak was elated that both men were wearing life jackets, leading to the rescue. In recent years, Milford has seen several drownings of kayakers who were not wearing life jackets when they went out on the water.

Some of the firefighters on the scene Saturday were the same who responded to the report of a missing kayaker during Storm Sandy, an event that ended in the death of a young Milford man.

Zak said the two men rescued Saturday may have been in the water for half an hour. He said it was fifteen minutes from the time the firefighters were dispatched to the scene until they had the men on the boat and were heading toward shore with them.

“This is something we do a lot,” Zak said, “because of where we live. We save more people with these boats than we do from structure fires.”