Yesterday afternoon, a father/son kayak trip ended tragically after a wave caused one of the vessels to capsize south of Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino. Authorities report despite attempts to revive the father, he passed away at the scene from an apparent drowning.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Van Patten provided preliminary information about the situation, saying the father and son had traveled from Ukiah and launched into the ocean in separate kayaks or possibly a two-person kayak.
After being struck by the wave, Captain Van Patten said the son was able to “make it out of the water” while his “father was unable to do so” succumbing to a likely drowning at the scene.
Captain Van Patten added that it is unknown at this point whether the father and son were wearing life jackets when the incident occurred.
Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Pisias told us that first responders abandoned plans to conduct a body recovery utilizing a helicopter. Rather, the father was transported to Russian Gulch Beach using a boat where first responders met the coroner for transport.
Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief John Pisias told us this “all hands on deck” response is typical for water rescue situations. He added, “We are fortunate to have a couple of State Parks lifeguards and Adventist Health nurses in the department. They were first to him.”
Scanner traffic from yesterday afternoon described multiple agencies responding to the incident including the United States Coast Guard, California State Parks, the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Reach Air Ambulance, and Sonoma County’s Henry 1 Helicopter.