Friday, November 6, 2009

Munscong Bay storm ~ We bring them all home!

I'd like to share a story with you that appeared in my local newspaper. Our weather is harsh up here and the lakes and waterways frigid and dangerous, especially in the Fall of the year. Our storms come not only with rain and cold but winds that are deadly (remember the Edmund Fitzgerald). We also know of the special bond we have with animals and do all we can to find everyone when disaster strikes. Mimi (Jack, this one's for you and your dad)

Rescue on Munuscong Bay
By Photo courtesy of Alonzo Knowles
Alonzo Knowles of Traverse City holds his 18-month-old, yellow lab, “Maisey” that was lost in the marsh for 36 hours after a storm on Munuscong Bay overturned their boat. The duck hunter with his two friends, Simon Joseph of Lake Ann and Kyle Marshall of Elk Rapids were rescued from the frigid water 2 hours after their boat was capsized on October 30.

By Staff reports
Sault Ste. Marie Evening News
Wed Nov 04, 2009

MUNUSCONG BAY — For three friends from downstate a quiet duck hunt on Munuscong Bay turned into a battle for their lives on Friday, October 30.

“It was a quiet hunt, with none of us even taking our safety off. However it was pleasurable nonetheless, just to be out on the bay in one of my favorite places,” said Alonzo Knowles of Traverse City of the hunting trip with his two friends, Simon Joseph of Lake Ann and Kyle Marshall of Elk Rapids, and his dog, “Maisey.”

At the beginning of their hunt the weather was warm but very windy — out of the south at 30-plus mph. On their journey from Barbeau to Sand Island, they experienced 2 to 3 foot waves, which Knowles said aren’t uncommon on the bay and their boat handled it well.

“But our trip back was entirely different,” Knowles said.

Immediately after rounding the north point of Sand Island, the hunters realized that the waves were larger and were coming across the bow instead of beside the boat.

“In the dark, it was hard to tell that the waves had grown quite as much as they had,” Knowles said. “When we took our first wave over the bow of our boat, it was already too late.”

Knowles continued, “Maybe it was a rogue wave, but whatever the case, two more waves followed it and within 30 seconds we were swamped and going down.”

After another 30 seconds they were capsized and the three friends and the dog were in the cold water.

“It was an extremely unnerving moment for all of us,” Knowles said. “After 20 years hunting Munuscong and 30 years of chasing ducks on the Great Lakes, dangerous possibilities are always in the back of your mind, but it is not something that you want to dwell on.”

Fortunately, Knowles cellular phone was kept dry when they capsized. He had get just enough cell signal to get off a 911 call on which he gave their coordinates. Then the phone was thoroughly soaked and dead.

“The next two hours were the longest of all our lives,” Knowles said. “In retrospect, I was fortunate to be with two other strong, calm minded individuals who stepped up and displayed nothing less than heroic efforts towards our group’s survival.

“At some point around an hour or so into our ordeal,” Knowles added, “my dog Maisey, slipped off the bottom of our boat, and that was the last we saw of her. I can’t quite explain how we were able to hold onto the bottom of that boat, which was submerged below the water somewhat. The waves were crashing over us constantly and in 46 degree water our arms and legs were becoming non-responsive and with our core temps coming down. We realized it was only a matter of time before hypothermia would take hold and completely disable us.”

After receiving the 911 call, emergency crews were dispatched from the Sault and surrounding areas. Rescue teams from the U.S. Coast Guard from Sector Sault, the Michigan DNR, Michigan State Police, the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department and the Traverse City Coast Guard base. Also, when private citizens heard the distress call on the scanner, they helped with the search and rescue.

“I’m not sure exactly how many people were involved,” Knowles said. “But each responder selflessly put his life on the line for us that night. They fought through 3-5 foot waves, 30-plus mph winds and periods of fog to save our lives. Without their efforts, I question whether we would be alive today.”

After two hours in the water, the hunters were rescued by MSP Trooper Dan Rambo, Chippewa County Sheriff’s Deputy Kip Moeggenborg and one other officer whose name Knowles did not get.

“Shaking uncontrollably from the onset of hypothermia on the bottom of our boat, much of the ride back to shore was a blur to me,” Knowles said. “We were greeted by an ambulance with warm blankets open arms and smiling faces.

“Never in my life have I been so humbled,” Knowles added. “Thanks to the efforts of all involved, a most successful outcome was achieved. Not only had we been rescued, I was also informed that the word had gone out that my 18-month-old, yellow lab was lost in the marsh.”

Rambo and Moeggenborg went out of their way to get the word out to the local community about Maisey.

Concerned Barbeau residents mobilized their efforts and spent countless hours walking the shoreline, wading the swamps, and searching the marsh by boat. On Sunday morning, after 36 hours in the marsh, Maisey and Knowles were reunited. They found her after driving down several miles of flooded two tracks off of 18 Mile Road.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!,” Knowles said. “Never could I have imagined an outcome like this. I can’t begin to express how thankful we all are for your combined efforts.”

National Canine Cancer Foundation


Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...


Tank woo fur sharing!


Dory and the Mama said...

Thank so much for sharing. My husband (who grew up in Traverse City) has told me many horror stories about storms.

Glad this one turned out ok!!!

The Mama

Samantha said...

OMD! What an amazing story - I love to hear good outcomes with so much horrible news out there these days. Thank you for sharing... And... drumroll... cmon over, cause we have an award for Scout and Frejya!
Hugs xo

Sam said...

Amazing that they all survived, and so extra sweet that man and dog were reunited after something so tough.

JackDaddy said...

Thank you for a story with a happy ending!! I can't imagine what it would be like to watch someone you love in trouble and not be able to help them!!

Anonymous said...

OMG totally amazing they all survived!! Thanks for sharing!

Ginger Jasper said...

Wonderful story and with a happy ending.. Thanks for sharing.. Hugs GJ xx

KB said...

Tears in my eyes... I'm so glad that Maisey made it too!

Alex93andme said...

That is such a wonderful story with a very happy ending. Thanks for sharing!

Sierra Rose said...

Wow!!! AMAZING story!
Hate to say, but rings so close to Dave, Golden Honey and I had a similar incident out in the ocean years ago. Quite remarkable how people (and doggies) can go into survival mode when fighting some horrendeous elements. So thankful when these stories end well.

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose [and written by mom]

Mochi and Mommy said...

Awesome story! Thank you for sharing!


Mango said...

What a great story and such a brave dog.


Teddy Bear said...

Thank you so much for sharing such a pawesome story.

Teddy Bear

Benny and Lily said...

Wow what a story..
Benny & Lily

The OP Pack said...

What an amazinf story - so glad it was a happy ending for all.

Happy weekend, the OP Pack

Lorenza said...

Thanks for sharing this story!
Kisses and hugs

River said...

A great story! We're so glad it turned out okay. My mom says she'll never go out in a boat up there!

love & wags,

Tweedles -- that's me... said...

It so nice to hear when bad things turn out good. Its good to hear about the miracles.
Thank you for sharing

C.l.o.v.e.r. said...

I love a happy ending! Thanks for sharing this amazing story with us!

Wild Dingo said...

Wow. I almost couldn't continue reading because i wasn't sure if Maisy or anyone would make it! thanks for sharing!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Glad everyone was rescued. That must have been a very long 36 hours for them.

Back in New York we lived near Oneida Lake, which is also quite dangerous -- it's very large and very shallow so the wind whips up large waves quickly. People die there every year.

Heather and Walter said...

We love your blog!

tula said...

A happy ending!. Whew.. yep, you never know when something can happen to you.. always be safe.

belly rubs,

Augie and Ti's mom said...

Oh wow, glad this story had a happy ending!

Dogwood said...

Oh, wow...tears. What a story! So happy all are safe now but how absolutely scary.

Thor said...

That story is pawsome! Thanks for sharing!

Tanuki Maxx said...

Soo glad it's a happy ending!!



What an amazing story. It reminded me of "The perfect Storm" only with a happy ending.

Thank you for sharing it.

Riley and Star.

Huffle Mawson said...

Hooray for that lucky girl!

Martha and Bailey said...

Thanks for another amazing story - so glad there was a happy ending.
Martha & Bailey xxx

Dogmom Diva said...

So glad that had a happy ending..might be good to get life vests for the hunters and the dogs though..we have a life vest for our doxie who likes to swim..

Brownie said...

thank goodness for happy endings!

Linda said...

So Glad it was a happy outcome ending for humans and dogs, Hurray for the brave rescue lads.
Poppy & Prince xx

SGR said...

Woof! Lots of Golden Thanks for sharing this story. Woof, Sugar

Ruby and Penny said...

What an amazing happy story. We experience the same weather, living on the shores of Lake Superior. The water is cold, deep and frightening.
Love Ruby & Penny

^..^Corgidogmama said...

What a story.....sniff, sniff! Where's the kleenex!

Tweedles -- that's me... said...

I just came to say hello and ponder the words and topics on your site.
I feel the love when I come here.

Tweedles -- that's me... said...

Thank you for sharing this awsome story and I am so happy it had a happy ending

Canine Crusader said...

Thank you for sharing this amazing story! I'm all choked up...

YD, sometimes with Samantha and June said...

Very scary but with good ending. We love good ending.
Thank you for sharing.

Sam & June

"Ice Pony Girl" said...

Love your blog! Can you please tell me where I can get a swinging dog tag? Thanks!