JEFFERSON COUNTY (WSYR-TV) — A frightening situation for three adult boaters and two children is serving as a reminder to be careful when boating this summer.
A Department of Environment Conservation Officer responded to a call about a distressed boat on South Sandy Creek in the Town of Ellisburg Sunday. After heavy rains the night before, conditions on the river were rough with high waters and a fast-moving current.
A 12-foot aluminum boat with three adults and two children was pinned against a partially submerged tree.
The DEC met with the State Police, Belleville Fire Department, Adams Fire Department, and the South Jefferson Rescue squad at the DEC boat launch on South Sandy Creek to assist in the rescue.
In a DEC press release, the rescue is described in detail:
“Officer Jackson, of the DEC, launched a specialty watercraft known as a “mud boat” equipped with a surface drive outboard. With the assistance of a State Trooper, ECO Jackson navigated downstream to locate the distressed family. Taking advantage of the durability and capabilities of the mud boat, ECO Jackson ran the hull up onto the downed tree in the river, providing a stable platform to transfer the family of five into the mud boat with the Trooper’s help. Once the family was secure, the Officers verified there were no injuries and brought the family up-river to the boat launch. Belleville Fire and State Police pulled the rescued family’s boat to shore with a rope and found that the outboard motor had lost the propeller in the incident.”
The DEC would like to remind boaters to always have the proper safety equipment and gear on board their vessel and ensure the boat can handle the water conditions prior to leaving the safety of shore.