VIDEO | Rescue crews called as 5 kayakers end up in the Milwaukee River in West Bend


Sept. 2, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Rescue crews in West Bend were called to the Milwaukee River behind Woolen Mills as passersby saw five kayakers in the water trying to pull a woman to safety.

Heath Heise said it was kinda exciting for a minute but everybody is ok.

“We started in Barton around 11 a.m. and we knew the water was fast but that wasn’t a problem and we went through the dam,” he said.

“Wasn’t really a big deal. One of the girls got off to the side and grabbed a branch and she went in and the guys tried to save her and then it was just like a domino effect and everybody was in the water.”

Heise said the fast water and trees tangled them up.

“The passersby on the bridge thought we were in trouble and called police,” he said.  “Everybody is ok … but it was quite the experience.”

The area where the kayakers went in was the eastern end of Riverside Park about a half mile west of River Road.

Heise said they’re all experienced kayakers and everyone was wearing a life jacket.

No worse for wear.

The gravel path through the east end of Riverside Park is flooded in some areas as the water is extremely high due to recent rains.


UPDATE: West Bend Police posted this update:

Riverside Park
On 09-02-18 at 12:02PM, eight adults went kayaking in the section of the Milwaukee River running through Riverside Park. A West Bend Officer in the area was flagged down by one of the adults and learned at least two of the kayakers overturned and were missing their kayaks. Responding Officers learned all eight adults had overturned in the river. The eight adults were located in the area of Riverside Park, were not injured, and their kayaks were recovered.

Due to faster river currents and higher water levels than normal, stay off the river.

Cedar Lake Sales


  1. I am grateful everyone is ok. He makes it sound trivial. Could have easily went another direction.

    The Authorities STRESSSED…please stay off the water ways as we deal with these high water, fast current conditions. Everyone likes to have fun. If you didn’t jump in and handle the situation, it could have ended worse. Which makes others…police, rescue and divers put their life on the line. People…when they say don’t do it, they say it for a reason, not to spoil the fun.

    Glad everyone is ok.

  2. I find it disturbing that these young men find their misadventure so humorous! After all, it was through their own “stupidity” that they put themselves in harms way in the first place! They are certainly old enough to know better! At least, one would expect so!

    It angers me that because of their reckless…and selfish….behavior they put the lives of would-be rescuers at risk! It doesn’t matter how experienced a kayaker each of them is; when there are official weather or condition warnings, DON’T ignore them! Because when arrogance, such as theirs, dictates behavior….especially behavior that challenges Mother Nature; the outcome will usually be disasterous. But, by a miracle this particular group, for some unknown reason, was spared!

    These men and their fellow kayakers should be “humbled” by this potentially deadly experience! Instead of joming, laughing, and shrugging off this potential tragedy, they should be grateful they were not injured severely. Likewise, they should be forever grateful that their stupidity did not prove “fatal” for themselves, their peers, or most significantly, for would-be rescuers…because THEY did NOT choose to risk the lives of others! Introspection would do these kayakers some good. And hopefully, they will use much more prudent judgement in the future!

    Shame on them! This is NO laughing matter! Period!

  3. Sorry but your comment is rediculous. These guys got out just fine by themselves, it was an onlooker that panicked and called the police. If there were people around where we go kayaking ( class 4 and 5) they would be freaking out. We are trained to handle ourselves in this type of situation ( and this will happen to every person that enjoys challenging white water) me and a buddy went down this river a couple days earlier and he sank on one of the turns, team work and we were back in and continuing down the river

    • I was also on the river Thursday night. I would agree with the gentleman above. You go into these situations ready to get wet. They were all wearing safety vests as was I. And yes I got caught much the same as these people did, and did get tossed out of the kayak. Unless your going to live in a bubble, things will happen. Yes team work, and some safety precautions (that were taken) and fun can be had.

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