Trapped kayaker rescued from Eagle River

Michelle Theriault Boots
Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts, left, and Paramedic Craig Paulus, right, perform a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler, green helmet, who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Bob Van Dussen positions the rescue boat as, from left, Engineer Corey Roberts, Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, and Paramedic Craig Paulus make a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler, green helmet in water, who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts, Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, and Paramedic Craig Paulus performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts, Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, and Paramedic Craig Paulus, performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Paramedic Craig Paulus holds onto the kayaker as the rescue boat gets a chainsaw during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts as Paramedic Craig Paulus holds onto the kayaker during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. The paddler was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts finishes making a cut in a sweeper as Paramedic Craig Paulus holds onto the victim during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. They freed the paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Paramedic Craig Paulus holds onto the kayaker after the sweeper is cut during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. The paddler was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts, Paramedic Craig Paulus, and Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, hang onto the paddler after the sweeper is cut and begins floating down river during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. The paddler was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Paramedic Craig Paulus, and Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, hang onto the paddler after the sweeper is cut and begins floating down river during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Paramedic Craig Paulus jumps from the rescue boat into the water to assist the kayaker whos face went under water after being freed from a sweeper during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. The paddler was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department personnel take the paddler to shore during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts, left, and Paramedic Craig Paulus, right, perform a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler, green helmet, who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Bob Van Dussen positions the rescue boat as, from left, Engineer Corey Roberts, Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, and Paramedic Craig Paulus make a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler, green helmet in water, who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts, Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, and Paramedic Craig Paulus performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts, Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, and Paramedic Craig Paulus, performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Paramedic Craig Paulus holds onto the kayaker as the rescue boat gets a chainsaw during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts as Paramedic Craig Paulus holds onto the kayaker during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. The paddler was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts finishes making a cut in a sweeper as Paramedic Craig Paulus holds onto the victim during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. They freed the paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Paramedic Craig Paulus holds onto the kayaker after the sweeper is cut during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. The paddler was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Engineer Corey Roberts, Paramedic Craig Paulus, and Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, hang onto the paddler after the sweeper is cut and begins floating down river during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. The paddler was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Paramedic Craig Paulus, and Sr. Capt. Jeff Bayless, hang onto the paddler after the sweeper is cut and begins floating down river during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department Paramedic Craig Paulus jumps from the rescue boat into the water to assist the kayaker whos face went under water after being freed from a sweeper during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012. The paddler was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department personnel take the paddler to shore during a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The Anchorage Fire Department performed a swiftwater rescue on Eagle River on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2012, as they freed a paddler who was trapped in a kayak that was pinned under a fallen tree by the rain swollen glacial fed river.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News

A kayaker pinned against a fallen tree in storm-swollen Eagle River was pulled from the water in a dramatic rescue Sunday afternoon. The man, who wasn't identified, was hypothermic and taken to an Anchorage hospital.

When rescuers arrived, the man was struggling to keep his head above the cold, rushing water, said Anchorage Fire Department Capt. Rick Bayless.

"He was holding his head out of the water with one hand on his kayak paddle," he said.

The man's kayak was jammed on a partially submerged log just across from the Eagle River Campground.

An off-duty Anchorage Police officer had heard an emergency call from someone onshore and had stood by offering moral support to the man while Fire Department rescuers in a jet boat rushed to find him, said Bayless.

The river, was running so fast and high that the water looked more like summer than fall, Bayless said.

"We discovered it was going to be very difficult to free him," he said.

The man told rescuers he was getting tired, Bayless said.

A chain saw was used to cut the log into pieces and free the trapped kayaker, Bayless said. It was under so much pressure from the water it had to be kicked out of the way.

After that, Bayless grabbed the man by his life jacket and helped maneuver him to shore.

The man was hypothermic, he said, but had improved by the time he arrived at the hospital.

The rescue took 20-30 minutes, he said, and involved more than a dozen Fire Department personnel, Bayless said.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.

Photos: Kayaker rescued from Eagle River
By MICHELLE THERIAULT BOOTS
Anchorage Daily News