After fatal kayaking accident at Lake Milton, officials stress importance of life jackets

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Under Ohio law, it's required that boaters have a life jacket easily accessible

LAKE MILTON, Ohio (WKBN) – After a tragic weekend at Lake Milton where a man’s body was found after a kayaking accident, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) says there is one thing that can make all the difference for people out on the water.

Family and friends of 26-year-old Eyad Traish say he was the kind of guy who made a big impact on a lot of people, and could make friends with anyone.

On Saturday, he went missing in the water. On Sunday, emergency crews recovered his body.

Officials want to stress the importance of safety while on the water.

“Especially those who are non-swimmers or weak swimmers should definitely wear their life jackets, but we also recommend if it’s inclement weather or if it’s smaller boats where there’s a risk of overturning or capsizing,” said ODNR Sgt. Josh Orwick.

Traish and a female friend were kayaking when the woman’s kayak tipped over. The woman was able to make it to shore, while Traish, who went in to help, never came back up.

Officials say neither was wearing a life jacket.

“Even people who are good swimmers can get into situations out there on the water where they can get in trouble and that life jacket is going to help keep them afloat,” Orwick said.

Under Ohio law, it’s required that boaters have a life jacket easily accessible. Even though it’s not required to be worn, officials say you’re better safe than sorry.

“If a boater ends up in the water, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to get to where the life jacket is, even if it’s readily accessible,” Orwick said.

If you don’t have a life jacket available, ODNR says a lot of the boating ramp areas have life jacket loaner programs. You can borrow a life jacket for the day and return it later.

Officials are still looking into what happened to Traish. While they can’t be certain a life jacket would have changed the outcome, they say it could have made a difference.

“Generally speaking, we find in these instances where something bad happens, folks that are wearing their life jackets stand a better chance at making it back to shore safely,” Orwick said.

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