Milwaukee man helps rescue kayaker stranded on Lake Erie for roughly 24 hours

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A Milwaukee man is being credited with saving a kayaker's life. The kayaker was rescued after spending more than 24 hours on a stormy Lake Erie this week.

Milwaukee resident Hap Carlson and longtime friend Keith Riegelsberger didn't realize what they were seeing at first. The two were boating on Lake Erie on Tuesday, July 29th when they saw something waving just above the water.

"About a mile off shore, I looked over and thought it was a fish flag," said Riegelsberger.

"He said nope, this is a person and everything kind of changed," said Carlson.

In the water was 34-year-old Travis Casper of Columbus, Ohio. He was waving an oar -- and was strapped to his capsized kayak. He'd been adrift since Monday -- surviving high waves, wind and lightning.

"It was really rough conditions for anybody to be out in those kinds of waters," said Carlson.

Carlson and Riegelsberger fished the kayaker out of the water. Carlson said he was confused and in bad shape.

"You could tell he was very white, very wrinkled up and he was saying he was very thirsty," said Carlson.

Carlson's family back in Wisconsin found out about all this excitement when a news story was posted on Facebook. Niece Candace Clark is not surprised by her uncle's actions.

"I also wouldn't be surprised if he kept in touch with this guy and was checking up and all of that. Again, he's just very much like that," said Clark.

Clark looks forward to seeing her uncle once he returns -- knowing he'll be quick to turn the attention away.

The rescued kayaker was rushed to shore where emergency responders were waiting. He is expected to make a full recovery.