CLEAR LAKE – A Des Moines man was rescued Sunday afternoon when the boat he was in capsized in high winds near the island.
Charley Fields, 41, was rescued by Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Ben Bergman and Water Patrol Officer Zach Scott after the small fishing boat he was operating was rolled by high winds and choppy water at approximately 2 p.m.
Two other passengers in the boat, Donald Eveland, 30, of Des Moines and Sasha Brenizer, 26, of Newton, were passengers in the boat operated by Fields and were rescued from the water by a passing boat.
Only Brenizer was wearing a life jacket when the boat capsized. There were sufficient life jackets on the boat, but the others were being stored in the bow of the boat. Fields was able to get to the life jackets after the boat rolled and was holding on to two of them at the time he was rescued.
Bergman said the fishing boat was 14-feet long, probably too small to be on the lake under the windy conditions.
“They were fishing and anchored. Water came over the stern of the boat and caused it to roll,” said Bergman, adding that a boat that small should probably have stayed in bay areas of the lake where there was less wind exposure and anchored the boat in a direction that did not allow the waves to go over the stern.
“And while they had enough life jackets, the life jackets weren’t readily accessible,” Bergman added.
Fields spent approximately 15 minutes in the water before being rescued.
“He (Fields) was exhausted by the time we got him into our boat, but none of the people involved sought medical attention,” Bergman said.