07-26-2008, 10:47 AM #1
You may find yourself in this situation helping others at risk.....
Lancaster man on Jet Ski rescues two after canoe capsizes in Lake Erie
Never got the chance to thank their rescuer
By Maki Becker NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: 07/26/08 9:27 AM
At 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sheila Abelein got a disturbing phone call. It was her brother, Tom Monahan.
The canoe that he and Abelein’s 16-year-old son, Patrick, had been paddling in Lake Erie — from Bay Beach near Crystal Beach, Ont., toward Bertie Bay — had capsized.
It had seemed like a pleasant, calm day earlier that morning, but as the wind picked up, the water got choppy and a big wave crashed over the 12-foot aluminum canoe, flipping it over.
Monahan, who was calling from the cell phone he had cleverly stashed in a plastic baggie, said he and his nephew were unhurt. Luckily, they both had their life vests on when they fell into the water.
They were hanging onto the overturned canoe, he said. He told Abelein that he believed the canoe was drifting toward shore and asked her to meet them at the beach.
Abelein, who along with her son had spent the night at her brother’s beach cottage, wasn’t panicking just yet. She drove to the dock, got out her binoculars and looked across the lake.
She didn’t see them. She kept looking. Nothing.
“Where the heck are they?” she remembers thinking.
About 20 minutes after the call, Monahan called back.
“We’re right here,” he said. “Can’t you see us?”
Abelein continued to scan the waters for her brother and son. She approached a boater bringing his vessel to the launch and asked him to keep an eye out for them. He agreed and went out on the water.
Still nothing. Monahan called back. There was something different about his voice. He seemed more concerned, even a little scared.
“I didn’t like the way he sounded,” Abelein said.
He said he and his nephew were considering swimming to shore.
Abelein decided that things were getting out of control. She called 911.
Fort Erie police and firefighters arrived at the dock. Rescue boats headed out into the water. A helicopter was called in for the search. The Canadian coast guard put out a call to area boaters to be on the lookout for Monahan and Patrick.
About the same time, a man on a Jet Ski came to the dock. The man, Daniel Trent Jr. of Lancaster, asked if he could help.
Fire Chief Jim Douglas asked him to search one section of the water, and Trent set out.
In the meantime, Monahan and Patrick had begun swimming.
The water, although warm because of the time of year, was starting to feel cold. Douglas explained that prolonged exposure to lake water, even in the summer, can cause hypothermia.
He also said water rescues can be challenging when the water is rough.
“With choppy water, it’s difficult,” he said. “They can be within feet of you, but if they are down low you might not see them.”
Patrick is a lifeguard, so he was managing well. But his uncle wasn’t quite as strong a swimmer. They were swimming hard for about a half hour when the Jet Ski pulled up to them.
“Are you the ones from the canoe?” Patrick said Trent asked.
They said they were. Trent then helped them up on his Jet Ski and began making his way back to the shore.
Abelein was elated when she saw them.
Monahan and Patrick were whisked into an ambulance, where they were dried off and warmed up. They didn’t require any further treatment.
In all the commotion, they lost track of Trent.
Trent, who runs D&D Printing of Buffalo with his father, told a photographer at the scene that he was just “lucky enough to find them” and then left the dock.
Patrick and his mother both said Friday afternoon that they wanted the chance to thank Trent.
“I want to thank him a lot,” Patrick said. “Without him, I’d probably still be swimming.”
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08-02-2008, 12:55 PM #2
hi shawn.....saw this and i thought of u......
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