Jun 9, 2016 12:00 AM
DERRY — An early Thursday morning kayak trip in Derry quickly turned dire when the boat capsized, leaving the paddler and his dog in the cold water of Beaver Lake.
Police, fire and emergency medical services responded to the area of 22 Beaver Lake Ave. for reports of an overturned boat and people in the water.
According to witnesses, a man was paddling in the kayak with his dog when his boat flipped, leaving both in the water as they struggled to stay afloat.
Ron Zuber arrived in Derry Wednesday night for a vacation and was staying at a friend’s house on the lake. On Thursday, he recalled how they were at the table eating breakfast and heard some noises.
“My friend thought it was just some kids playing, but on the third time that I heard a noise, it was actually a cry for help, so I went out and by that time a neighbor had called 9-1-1,” Zuber said. “Shortly after that, we heard the sirens.”
Zuber said several other residents along that part of the lake went outside to try and help the man. It was a woman on a jet ski who reached the man, but he told her to take the dog.
The man decided to wait for the rescue team, and held onto the capsized boat to stay afloat. Witnesses said he was not wearing a life jacket.
“Apparently the man told her to just take the dog because the dog was struggling,” Zuber added. “He was struggling to stay on the kayak.”
Emergency crews used a kayak from a nearby resident to bring the man a life jacket and help him on to a raft floating several yards from shore. Once out of the water, he was able to get into the rescue boat and was taken in.
According to the Derry Fire Department, neither the man nor the dog were wearing personal flotation devices. After the rescue, the kayak was taken away with the wind as neighbors wondered what happened.
“I was just getting dressed in my room, and I looked out the door and saw this upside-down boat floating around,” said Veronica Thomas, a Beaver Lake. “I thought the wind got somebody’s kayak, they didn’t tie it up.”
Only later did Thomas learn a person needed to be rescued, especially because Beaver Lake is normally quiet.
“I mean, sometimes you do see stuff floating by, like an occasional raft or an occasional life jacket or a toy, but you really don’t see people’s boats upside down,” she said.
Officials said the man was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, and the dog was unharmed and is doing well.
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