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2 Nebraskans survive 4-hour ordeal on South Dakota lake

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YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — Two 23-year-old Nebraska residents who became stranded on a South Dakota lake for nearly four hours are expected to make a full recovery from hypothermia.

Daniel Deanda and Dulce Vite of South Sioux City, Nebraska, were in Yankton for a family gathering Sunday and trying out a new personal watercraft on Lewis and Clark Lake. They became stranded on the lake for nearly four hours after water conditions quickly deteriorated when the wind picked up, they told the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan ( ).

"As we were going in, it was kind of windy — the waves were a little bit high," Vite said. "The waves were getting worse, so we were just going to turn around and go back."

The watercraft flipped in the water and fell on top of them, she said, and then they were unable to get it restarted. Deanda and Vite, both of whom were wearing life jackets, decided to try swimming for shore after it became too difficult to hang onto the watercraft.

"First, we prayed because we didn't know what else to do," Deanda said. "Then we decided, 'Let's both go, and just go swimming as far as we can get. So we started doing that and just left the jet ski there."

But the pair almost immediately was swamped by the waves, and fatigue later started to set in.

"We would try swimming and (the waves) would get in my face, in my mouth and everything," he said. "(Vite) told me I should face the other way and the waves won't hit me. We were going and then it started getting really, really cold."

They eventually were found by a rescue crew after family members alerted the Yankton County Sheriff's Department.

Vite was released from the hospital Monday. Deanda was still being treated with antibiotics to stave off bacterial infection.


Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan,

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