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IN: Hunter nearly drowns

Posted: 12:12 AM Dec 31, 2008
Last Updated: 12:12 AM Dec 31, 2008
Reporter: Erin Logan
Email Address: erin.logan@wndu.com

Michiana hunter talks about his near drowning accident

Niles man thought his life was about to end when his kayak flipped over Tuesday morning. It happened in Plymouth at the Menominee Wetland Conservation Area.

Thirty-three year-old Gayton Marks launched his Kayak to hunt for geese along the Yellow River, only to find the water was higher than he had thought.

Just after the near drowning, marks shared survival story with Newscenter 16.

Marks says, "Typically, that Yellow River is much more shallow and slow moving."

"As I worked my way south, I got drawn up in the strong currents. I soon found myself going straight down the center of the river at a pretty high rate of speed. There were a lot of fallen trees. I got caught up in a log and the kayak turned to the side and flipped over."

"I didn't know how well I'd be able to swim in the cold water. When I got a hold of the kayak I felt much better about the situation. The second time when I was most concerned was when I grabbed a hold of trees to pull myself out, the currents pulled the kayak away from me, so now I had nothing to keep me afloat. I had to pull myself up out of the water on the branches."

"I knew I had a cell phone but my hands were too numb. I finally got the cell phone out and called 911. The police, fire, and ambulance showed up really quick but it took them a long time at first to find me.

I used the orange hat to flag them down.

Once they did find me, it took them longer to get to me because the water was so high and the woods were so flooded, so I ended up being in the river for about an hour."

"I was very happy to see my family. I thought a lot about that as I was fighting my way out. I would definitely advise other hunters not to go hunting alone. It could've ended a lot worse for me."

Besides finding a partner to go geese hunting with, Marks says he looks forward to buying a new kayak and continue on with his hobby safely.

He did have a life jacket in the boat, but it was behind the seat in a storage area.

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