LAKE GEORGE An afternoon meal and an early spring boat ride on Monday ended with a mid-lake rescue of two vacationers whose kayak had swamped. Buffeted by rising wind and whitecaps, the young man and woman were in danger of dying from exposure.
John Ross of Lake George had taken out his family’s 28-foot Chris Craft motorboat on Monday for his first lake cruise of the season.
On Monday afternoon, he and a friend, Sean Rogge, drove the boat from the southern end of the lake about 8 miles north to The Sagamore resort, where they had a meal.
Back on the lake as the afternoon waned, they saw the wind was picking up and decided to head back.
“We were on a 28-foot boat and we were OK, but you wouldn’t have wanted to be in too much smaller of a boat,” Rogge said.
They had passed Dome Island, at a spot where the lake is about 3 miles wide, when they saw a flash of color.
“I just saw this little purple kayak just getting thrown around,” Ross said.
When they got near, they saw a woman sitting in the kayak, then a man in the water. They were wearing life preservers, but they were far from the shore and getting pushed around by the wind and waves.
“This gentleman is almost in a hypothermic state. He had one last scream, then he couldn’t scream anymore,” Ross said.
Ross positioned the boat upwind so it would be blown down to the kayak, and the two men hauled the man and woman into their boat.
“He was going into shock. His eyes were bloodshot, and he was turning blue,” Ross said.
“He was pretty delirious,” Rogge said.
The temperature of the lake’s water is 50 degrees now. At that temperature, a person can last only between 30 minutes and an hour before losing consciousness, according to the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association.
The men managed to strip the wet clothes off the couple, then redressed them in their own dry clothes.
Ross drove fast back to the village, the motorboat smashing over the tops of the whitecaps.
The couple said they were from Pennsylvania and were renting a house somewhere locally, Rogge said.
Rogge and Ross turned the couple over to the local rescue squad at the dock in Lake George, and on Wednesday they had not heard how well the couple had recovered.
Dan Davies, assistant chief for the North Queensbury Fire Company, was on the dock when the boat arrived. He said Rogge and Ross had saved the couple’s lives.
The man and woman were taken to the hospital by Lake George EMS and were expected to recover, Davies said.
No further information on the couple was available Wednesday.