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An Alaska woman survived in the Pacific Ocean off Maui for 19 hours thanks in part to her CamelBak® hydration system, which helped keep her alive - although not the way you might think - until rescuers arrived, KHON-TV2, Honolulu, reported on Oct. 22, 2007.

Lillian Ruth Simpson was kayaking when she capsized about a mile offshore, where she was stranded until a charter fishing boat captain and his crew rescued her. “I thought I a saw a bunch of balloons tied together floating,” said Joseph Carvalho Jr. As he got closer he saw Simpson wave. She had tied her bikini top to her head to hold in her body heat, and “made her own lifejacket” using the CamelBak hydration pack to keep herself afloat, Carvalho said.

A crew member aboard Carvalho's boat jumped into the water and brought Simpson to safety. The Coast Guard took her to Maui Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for dehydration and exhaustion, and then released, the television station reported.

CamelBak hydration systems are not intended to work as personal floatation devices, but in this case one certainly kept Ms. Simpson afloat and probably saved her life.

CamelBak® hydration system by CamelBak Products LLC, Petaluma, Calif., 800-767-8725 or

(Editor's Note: Protection Update welcomes contributions from readers for our regular “Safety Equipment Works for You” feature. Email examples of where PPE has saved workers' lives or prevented injuries to Editor Joe Walker, [email protected], or mail them to the Editor, Protection Update, International Safety Equipment Association, 1901 N. Moore Street, Suite 808, Arlington, VA 22209. Photos are welcome.)

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