A family’s kayak trip to Pine Island Sound turns into a rescue mission

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
pine island kayak rescue
Credit: WINK News

What started out as a fun day on the water ended with rescue and reunion.

A father was on the water with his four children. Suddenly, he found himself in trouble with his younger two children, the four and eight-year-olds.

WINK News spoke to the family and found out how they were able to get to land, safely.

Gabriel Hillman thought Friday morning was the perfect time for a kayak ride. So, he decided to take his four kids out on the water. Everything was great until a few got separated.

“Doing a little fishing and our kids got separated from us,” Hillman said.

He was in one kayak with his 8- and 4-year-old when it began taking on water. His two older children were in another kayak and kept going to search for a place to picnic, not realizing their dad was in trouble.

“I knew the situation was only going to get worse,” said Hillman. “The high tides coming in so I could see a sand bar so I just jumped out called my wife and she got on the phone with 911.”

He stayed put on that sandbar, stressed out. Once he saw that his son finally figured out what happened, and turned around, he felt a little better.

“They were just staying in the same spot as before so we headed out that way and then we see this boat coming to pick them up,” said Noah, Gabriel’s son.

“It was one of those situations that you knew if you would’ve waited 10 or f15 minutes more the situation would’ve ended differently so we went into action mode to survival mode to patience and waiting,” Gabriel said.

Luckily, just ten minutes after making that 911 call, help arrived.

“Count your blessings all the time,” Gabriel said.


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