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CRESTON, Iowa – On April 28, 2020, at approximately 5:00pm, a bystander called 911 after noticing a capsized raft with a family of four on Green Valley Lake.
All four members of the family were wearing Personal Flotation Devices, also known as life jackets, but were struggling outside of the buoys of the beach area. At the time, strong winds gusting to over 35mph, cold water temperatures and inexperience made for an exhausting effort by the family.
The two adults and two children were able to swim to shore. Rescue personnel from the Creston’s Greater Regional Medical Center, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources met the family at the shore and provided immediate medical attention. All four family members’ lives were saved in part to their personal flotation devices.
The Iowa DNR stresses the importance of wearing PFD’s, no matter the circumstances and no matter the skill of the person. Iowa law requires all children 13 years or younger to wear an approved PFD while in a vessel on Iowa waters, unless below deck in an enclosed cabin, or on a commercial vessel with 25 or more people. All vessels, including kayaks and canoes, operating on Iowa waterways are required by law to have the same number of approved PFDs on board as passengers present.
“Just as we saw in this incident, the simple act of wearing a Personal Flotation Device could absolutely save your life and the lives of your friends and family members,” said Jason Hyde, DNR Park Ranger. “The appearance or inconvenience are no excuse for risking your life.”
DNR conservation officers and other law enforcement are present on the waterways throughout the state monitoring, educating and enforcing these laws on a regular basis during the spring, summer and fall months.