(KING) Friends of two kayakers who died in an accident near Sequim on Saturday say the weather quickly turned bad, and it caught the group off-guard.
“It just feels unreal, people we were friends with, that were there, and then they weren’t,” said Linda Caines, who was kayaking with her husband, Dennis.
Video they recorded from a waterproof camera on their boat shows calm weather as the group headed out to a lighthouse on Dungeness Spit. The seven kayakers enjoyed a break and then turned around to go back. That’s when the wind picked up, quickly scattering the group.
“Within ten minutes I couldn’t see anybody or another kayaker anywhere,” said Dennis.
The video shows their kayak pitching and rolling in the waves. Linda’s panicked voice can be heard urging them to get back to shore.
The Caines fought their way back to a beach, far from their group, and wondered what happened to the others.
“The sheriff came up and said ‘I have bad news,’ and my heart just sank,” said Dennis.
Jacob Austin, 52, died after his kayak overturned.
And hours later, more bad news. One of the other kayakers, 39-year-old Mandi Walkley, who was airlifted to Olympic Medical Center, did not make it.
“She was such a beautiful person,” said Dennis, choking back tears, as he looked through photos he took of Walkley during previous hiking trips.
“We lost two good friends and one is struggling,” said Dennis.
A third kayaker, William Kelley, 50, of Olympia, is in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center.
The US Coast Guard and Navy assisted in the rescue. Authorities said winds were reported at 35 mph with 3-foot high seas at the time of the accident.
Everyone in the group was wearing life jackets, Caines said.
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