Two men were rescued when their canoe capsized this afternoon off Killman’s Point in Short Beach.
The victims, who appeared to be in their early 20s according to Fire Department Deputy Chief John Masci, were transported to Branford Point and then taken to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia. They were both in fair to good condition, according to Masci.
“They were talking,” said Masci, “They were just very cold.”
The water temperature of Long Island Sound today, according to the National Oceanic Data Center (NOAA and NODC), was a chilling 41 degrees.
Masci reports that a 911 call came in just after 3 p.m. today from a Killam’s Point resident who noticed an overturned canoe out near Green Island. Masci was unable to say if the caller noticed the canoe before it capsized or after. After placing the emergency call, Masci said, the resident hopped into his kayak and paddled out to help the victims.
Bob Reinwald, the caretaker of Killams Point who jumped in to recuse the victims* took a chance said Masci, as his kayak was only built for two people; he ran the risk of capsizing himself by attempting to rescue the victims.
Branford Fire Department Marine Unit 5 was first at the scene, followed by Unit 2. When Unit 5 arrived, the good Samaritan had hoisted one victim into his kayak while the other waited in the water for rescue. Both victims were then taken onboard the fire boat and transported to waiting ambulances at Branford Point. The names of the victims were not released nor were their towns of residence.
This afternoon’s rescue was the first of the season and Masci expects at least 40 more before the end of the summer. Every year, he commented, “it gets busier and busier.”
While most calls are for boaters, he said about four to five canoe- and kayak-related incidents occur each year.
It took about 15 to 20 minutes from the time of the 911 call to when the victims arrived on shore, with no exact confirmation of how long they may have been in the water before the 911 call was made. According to BoatSafe.com, someone can survive about one hour to three hours in 40- to 50-degree waters.
Proud of his crew and today’s happy ending, Masci said with relief, “I love stories like this; it has a great outcome.”
*The first version of this story did not include the rescuers name.