NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — More than a dozen kayakers and several pets were rescued from Percy Priest Lake after becoming stranded due to weather Tuesday night.
The Nashville Fire Department said crews responded around 9 p.m. to Luau Island, where 15 kayakers and three dogs were unable to make it to shore.
In a call made to 911, one of the kayakers explained, “we come out here on Tuesday nights and kayak out to Luau Island, and tonight, we got a surprise of micro burst weather patterns, and there’s a lot of people here that aren’t gonna be able to make it back to shore in kayaks in this weather.”
Two boats were launched into the water to help rescue everyone, according to the fire department.
Crews said they were able to transport three to four passengers at a time and made multiple trips until everyone was safely out of the water.
No injuries were reported.
Wildlife Officer Matt Norman with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency told News 2 they are seeing more kayakers out on the water and this time of year fosters unpredictable weather in Tennessee.
“I think what people don’t realize about Percy Priest is that it’s a pretty big open lake, so when we have sudden weather events that pop up where you’re gonna start getting a lot of wind or wind gusts, the lake turns into almost like an ocean-like environment. The waves really start picking up on that wind,” Norman explained.
He said, “When you’re on something like a kayak, where you don’t have a motor, you may have drifted a certain way with the wind when you were going to your location, and you realize, I have to fight the wind to get back to where I was going.”
“When you factor in darkness, not maybe knowing the distances and a storm that’s come up and increased the waves and that kind of thing… definitely something you want to take into consideration when you’re coming out to a bigger lake like Percy Priest,” Norman added.
All kayakers are required to have a safety vest with them, Norman said. If kayaking at night, they must also have a light on the kayak, so that they are visible to other boaters.