ITHACA, N.Y. — A kayaker who flipped on Cayuga Lake Tuesday was hospitalized after being pulled out of the chilly water by off-duty firefighters who happened to be part of a nearby boating party, according to Lt. Dan Scherer of the Trumansburg Fire Department.


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Here’s the account given by Scherer:

An off-duty IFD Lieutenant and two volunteer firefighters from the Trumansburg and Cayuga Heights fire departments happened to be with a boating party on the lake Tuesday afternoon.

The boating party responded to “deep water” near the Cayuga Lake Girl Scouts camp and found two kayakers. One of the kayakers had flipped his boat and was “struggling to remain with the partially submerged vessel in the mid-forty degree water,” Scherer said.

The Ithaca, Trumansburg, and Lansing fire departments were dispatched to the incident. Meanwhile, the civilian boat piloted by Ithaca firefighter Lt. Thomas Basher maneuvered close enough to the kayaker for one of the firefighters on board to pull the kayaker out of the water.

“The hypothermic man was then wrapped in towels and blankets while others on the boat hugged him to help raise his body temperature,” Scherer said in an email.

The man was later transported to the Cayuga Medical Center by Bangs Ambulance.

“Wind and cold water temperatures made for challenging boating conditions on the day, especially for small water craft,” Scherer said. “Local emergency agencies remind boaters to be safe when on the water and always wear personal flotation devices.”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.