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Good Samaritan rescue of child from Cossayuna Lake highlights need to wear life vests

Good Samaritan rescue of child from Cossayuna Lake highlights need to wear life vests


GREENWICH — Authorities are reminding people to wear life vests when kayaking after a mystery good Samaritan rescued a child from Cossayuna Lake on Sunday afternoon.

The incident happened just after 2:30 p.m. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting that a 10-year-old had fallen into the lake from a kayak in the area of 708 County Route 49 in the town of Greenwich. A second 10-year-old in a separate kayak was in the area and attempted to help the child, according to police.

Cossayuna Fire Chief Pat Donahue responded to that residence at that address and found the mother of the child in the water hysterical.

“She was saying that the kid didn’t know how to swim,” she said.

The boy’s kayak had capsized. Police said he was hanging onto the kayak but could not get back to the shore.

Donahue said there was access to the water from the residence. He went down to the mouth of lake at the bottom of a hill where the inlet comes in and he could see the boy on the water.

Then, Donahue said he saw a bass fisherman’s boat coming onto the shore with the child. Emergency personnel brought him up to an ambulance with Argyle EMS to treat him for hypothermia.

“The other kid was still in his kayak and wasn’t harmed at all. He actually got back to the dock on this own,” he said.

Neither child could swim nor did they have life jackets, according to Donahue.

“It’s very important to have a life vest when you’re out boating,” he said, adding that they are not toys.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. Sgt. Robert Sullivan said authorities are still trying to identify the fisherman who helped rescue the boy as the family wants to thank him. The man did not stick around for long.

“He brought the one child that was in the water to the shore, and as the firemen were helping him, he left. He went out fishing,” Sullivan said.

Investigators are looking at whether there was any issue with the kayak.

The Argyle Fire Department also assisted at the scene.

Michael Goot covers politics, crime and courts, Warren County, education and business. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or

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