Missing kayakers found safe

June 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two kayakers are back home in Santa Cruz County safe and surprised. After a massive overnight search for them in San Francisco bay. It all began when the men didn't come home Sunday after watching the "Escape from Alcatraz" triathlon.

Tim Boege and 58-year-old Shahe Moutafian didn't consider themselves missing. The friends and fellow kayakers from Aptos paddled out on the bay Sunday to watch the 'Escape from Alcatraz' competitors swim in the 56-degree water.

"Yesterday there were small craft advisories, the winds were 10 to 15 knots and that can stir up some chop in the bay," said Lt. Lauren Kolumbic, U.S. Coast Guard.

Moutafian's wife became worried and called the Coast Guard overnight. A search crew came up empty.

At daybreak, a second search crew launched just after 6:00. The Coast Guard's search and rescue helicopter was answering a flare sighting in Pacifica but a news chopper spotted the pair and alerted the would-be rescuers.

When the two came ashore near Fort Mason, reporters descended upon them like a flock of seagulls on fresh fish; fish that simply didn't see what all the fuss is about.

"What did you do overnight?" asked a reporter.

"Slept," said Moutafian.

It turns out men spent the night on Angel Island, waiting for calmer waters.

After hauling their kayaks up the dock, Moutafian and Boege insisted it was all much to do about nothing.

"We had enough clothing, food and water, lovely moonrise, we had a great time. They wanted to haul our kayaks up on their ship and we said we're fine, we don't need rescue," said Moutafian.

"In this case, a small invasion of technology into this outdoor adventure could have made all the difference. It's called a cell phone.

"It's highly recommended. It's important to have a means of communication with you," said Kolumbic.

Moutafian says he doesn't own a cell phone and Boege didn't bring his because he didn't want it to get wet. In the end - a happy ending.

"We're very happy that we were able to find these two people safe and sound," said Kolumbic.