Capsized kayaker who prayed for help rescued by priests on floating bar

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A kayaker who capsized in choppy waters experienced a form of divine intervention when he was rescued by a group of priests on a floating bar.

Jimmy MacDonald, who is teetotal, was enjoying a day out on the water with his wife and stepchildren when his kayak overturned, he lost his paddle and he began drifting away from his family.

Believing he might die, he prayed for help, after which a boatload of priests and seminarians taking in the sights of Lake George, in New York State, bobbed into view.

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Mr MacDonald, a former amateur boxer, ended up in troubled waters after taking photos on his pricey new smartphone. Preoccupied with capturing the scenery, Mr MacDonald was not paying much attention to his surroundings when his boat tipped over.

“A couple of people…asked if I needed help, but I had too much pride,” he told local lifestyle site Glenn Falls Living.

‘I thought I was going to die’

However, Mr MacDonald soon realised he might not be able to make it to shore alone. Clinging on to the kayak with one hand, he clutched his £1,100 phone with the other – “I wasn’t going to lose that”, he said.

“I thought I was going to die,” he continued.

“I was absolutely powerless and wished I had asked for help earlier. I was waving my hand and asked God to please help me. I seriously thought I was going to drown.”

Then, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a tour boat.

Prayers answered

Greg Barrett, captain of the Tiki Tours boat, blew his horn to get Mr MacDonald’s attention after realising the castaway was “floundering”.

He said: “One of the priests heard him yell ‘help’, and then I noticed his life preserver was not fitted properly and was up around his neck.

The captain, a deckhand and four priests then “scooped him up onto the bow of the boat”.

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Teetotaller

Many others would have been quick to ask for a stiff drink after such an ordeal, but Mr MacDonald has been sober for seven years. The irony that he found salvation in the form of a floating bar was not lost on the beleaguered boatman.

“It was all a bit traumatising, but I trust that maybe it happened for a reason,” he said.

“Just like getting sober, I couldn’t do it on my own and trying to fix things myself almost cost me my life until I admitted I was powerless and asked for help.”

@kt_grant