Drowning at North/South Lake

Kaaterskill Falls, North/South Lake, North Point, North Mtn, Palenville Overlook, Rip's House, South Mtn, Stoppel Point

Drowning at North/South Lake

New postby dave » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:20 pm

On Thursday afternoon, April 15, 2010, two people were canoeing on north/south lake when their canoe capsized. A women was able to swim to shore. While swimming she screamed for help. Two hikers on the trail next to South Lake were there to help her get out of the frigid water. But, her 62 year old companion didn't make it to the shore and drown.

It should be noted that when the water is this cold, most people cannot survive more then 10-15 minutes. This is assuming that the person is young and strong. People who fall into water this cold have a hard time moving, and it has a tendency to cause respiratory distress. A 62-year old person probably could not survive more then a couple minutes.

The death is being investigated by the NYS Police out of Hunter New York, Greene County Sheriff's Office, and the NYS DEC.

This is a developing story, so more accurate details will come at a later date and time.

Update #1 - 4/16 (9 am): It has been reported that both people had just purchased a plastic kayak, and were testing the boat out in South Lake of North/South Lake campgrounds. There were approximately 100 feet off shore in 15' deep water, when the 62 year old male allegedly stood up to test the stability of the kayak. This caused the kayak to capsize dumping both people into the water. It is unknown what happen after that. We don't know if they tried to upright the kayak and get inside. There are some reports that this put most of the kayak underwater, and it was no longer worthy of boarding.

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Two men were on the railroad track trail next to the water and heard the woman yelling for help. Cody Spohler and Richard Spohler then aided the woman who had swam part of the way to the shore.

On late Thursday afternoon divers tried to find the 62 year old male in the water, but were unable to locate him. Today, they have showed up to do a recovery of the male.

Sadly, they had purchased personal flotation devices ("PFD"), but left them in the car. Starting November 1, 2009 all boaters are required by law to use a PFD between November 1, and May 1. Fines range from $100 to $250 per violation. This law was created to prevent this type of accident. You can read about this new law here: http://nysparks.state.ny.us/recreation/ ... ewYork.pdf

Here are some pictures taken from the dam at South Lake:

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Update #2 - 4/16 (11 am): A spokesperson for the New York State DEC has provided us with the identification of the victim. His name is Richard Schneider of New Paltz New York. His wife survived the capsized kayak and was rescued by Cody Spohler and Richard Spohler who went part way out into the lake to rescue her. It has been alleged that his wife might have perished with her husband if these two heroes had not come to her aid

Divers from Greene County, Ulster County, and NYS State Police continue today to search for body.

The NYS DEC has also asked us to remind people that this tragedy could have been prevented if both people were using Personal Flotation Devices. Starting November 1, 2009 all boaters are required by law to use a PFD between November 1, and May 1. Fines range from $100 to $250 per violation. This law was created to prevent this type of accident. You can read about this new law here: http://nysparks.state.ny.us/recreation/ ... ewYork.pdf

Update #3 - 4/16 (3 pm): Ulster County Dive Team found Richard Schneider at 2:10PM this afternoon. He was located in 8-9 feet of water and 30 feet off of the shore.
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Re: Drowning at North/South Lake

New postby mike » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:08 am

What a sad situation. I wasn't over there tonight. I was up at Pisgah Loop. Feel very sorry for the family. I am sure we will learn more tomorrow.
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Re: Drowning at North/South Lake

New postby mtnclimber » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:07 am

My condolences go to the family. How sad that they were so close to shore.

The new law of PFD sounds like a good law. Sad that the PFD were in their car.
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Re: Drowning at North/South Lake

New postby mike » Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:25 am

I realize that some people don't like the government telling them what to do, but this law is a pretty good one.

Surviving in cold water is very difficult. 20 years ago, I fell into Lake George in early May and I had a very hard time getting to the shore. And, I wasn't that far away from the shore. These folks were 30 feet away from the shore. One didn't make it, and the other needed help.

When you first fall into very cold water, it paralyzes your breathing. Respiratory distress is very significant. Once your respiratory system allows you to breath, your hands and feet then start to feel like concrete. It is very difficult to move. I can understand why people in the 60's would have a hard time swimming the 30' to shore. If you are going to go out in cold water use a good life vest. Most people don't last more then 5 minutes before drowning in cold water. Even very strong young people.
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Re: Drowning at North/South Lake

New postby dave » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:50 pm

I think we need to provide some clarification on this story. There is a lot of conflicting information from different agencies and sources.

After the capsizing Thursday, divers concentrated on the middle of the lake where they believed the capsizing occurred. They suspended the search at dusk. It is possible that his wife believed that they were in the middle of the lake. Sometimes when the victims are in the water, the shore looks like it is further away then it is. But, after hours of searching they didn't find her husband near the middle of the lake. On Friday at 2:10 PM, they found Richard's body 30' from shore in 8-9' feet of water (according to the DEC spokesperson). It is possible that both of them tried to swim to shore with the capsized kayak. It was reported that when the two rescuers came to the shore, they only saw her and a tip of the kayak. It is possible that he drown near the shore and pulled down the kayak. The plastic kayaks usually do not submerge below the surface as reported. Plastic floats, and the kayaks will stay on the surface. It is possible that he might have made it part of the way to the shore before drowning. There have been a number of reports that they were anywhere from the middle of the lake to just off the shore. At this point we cannot be sure exactly where they were in the lake before the kayak capsized.

It is also reported that they were pulled from the south side of south lake instead of the north side of the lake. We were originally told that they were pulled from the walking path. The walking path is the section where the old railroad tracks were. There is a hiking path that runs around the lake. The hiking path on the south side of South lake moves quite a ways inland. Based upon what we know now, the south side of the lake seems to be the correct location of them coming to shore.

We also reported that the water temperatures were 30-40 degrees. Another source reported that they were 40-50 degrees. The top layer (1-12") of water is usually warmer then the lower part. Our temperature is the lower level. The lake is also feed from the north with snow melt, so the temperature can vary significantly in different parts of the lake.

I hope this clears up some of the misunderstandings.
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