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27 Stranded Kayakers, Including Children, Rescued from Cave on Tennessee Lake amid High Winds

“Harsh conditions and high winds quickly challenged the kayakers," the state's Wildlife Resources Agency said Tuesday

<p>Getty</p> Lake Nickajack in Tennessee

Getty

Lake Nickajack in Tennessee

A group of 27 kayakers are safely back on dry land after high winds left them stranded inside a cave on a Tennessee lake.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) said it received a call for help at around 8:30 p.m. Monday according to WKRN, WSMV and WZTV.

The TWRA said the 27 kayakers — made up of both adults and children — had been part of a tour group on Nickajack Lake near Chattanooga and began having difficulty due to the high winds as they approached the cave, per WSMV.

“Harsh conditions and high winds quickly challenged the kayakers, and a few did enter the water. The entire group made it to shore near the cave and called for emergency assistance,” the TWRA said in a statement obtained by WKRN.

<p>Haletown Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook</p> 27 kayakers rescued from Lake Nickajack in Tennessee

Haletown Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook

27 kayakers rescued from Lake Nickajack in Tennessee

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Officers from the TWRA, Haletown Volunteer Fire Department, Puckett EMS, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the scene, though the first responders also had some difficulty with the rescue, according to the outlets.

The Haletown’s Volunteer Fire Department arrived with a small boat to aid in the rescue efforts, but due to the boat’s small size, it was capsized by the strong winds before it was disconnected from the trailer.

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<p>Haletown Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook</p> 27 kayakers rescued from cave in Lake Nickajack, Tennessee

Haletown Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook

27 kayakers rescued from cave in Lake Nickajack, Tennessee

Despite this, TWRA officers said they were able to transport all the kayakers from the cave back to shore despite  “extremely poor water conditions,” per WKRN. The kayakers were evaluated by medical staff on the shore, though no injuries were reported from the incident.

TWRA Boating Officer David Holt told the outlets that the kayakers’ decision to wear life jackets may have saved their lives.

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“This is a great example of the importance of life jackets,” Holt said, per WSMV. “With water temperatures in the mid to high 40s and high wind speeds, life jackets were a key safety factor.”

The TWRA did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment on the incident.

Over the past few days, Tennessee weather reports have forecasted gusty winds. On Tuesday, a wind advisory was called for many parts of the state, with gusts estimated between 20 and 40 mph according to WKRN.

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