9 kayakers -- including 7 children -- hoisted to safety near Anacortes

FIDALGO ISLAND, Washington -- The Coast Guard and Navy worked together Thursday afternoon to rescue nine people who were separated from each other on a kayaking trip.

An instructor from the kayaking group used a radio to contact the Coast Guard around 1:10 p.m., officials said. Someone on a nearby boat found five children on the beach and two on kayaks in a bed of kelp.

Officials said the Navy aircrew arrived at the scene and dropped a swimmer into the water to help hoist the children into the helicopter. The Navy swimmer stayed with two adults until a Coast Guard helicopter arrived and hoisted all three to safety.

“These people also had the right safety equipment with them, including a VHF-FM radio, and they were wearing their life jackets,” said Mike McKiernan, command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

The nine kayakers were taken to Whidbey General Hospital in good condition.

Officials said a small craft advisory was in effect at the time.

A Coast Guard boat crew from the Bellingham station recovered two kayaks. Officials say the other kayaks could be adrift which could be dangerous to boats and ships in the area.