A Second Missing Boater, in One Week

In the past week, there have been two missing boaters reported in Vermont’s lake waters. Neither was wearing a life jacket.

The Vermont State Police and emergency crews are still searching for a boater who disappeared Thursday afternoon, July 5, 2018, in Lake St. Catherine in the towns of Poultney and Wells.

The state police received a 911 call at about 3:20 p.m. from another boater on the Rutland County lake, and first responders from Vermont and New York were dispatched to the scene.

Police said Thomas Flood, 61, of Schenectady, New York, and his wife were staying at a family camp on the lake. While boating on Thursday afternoon, the Floods were stepping out of the boat to sit in inner tubes tethered to the vessel when Mr. Flood fell into the water. He was not wearing a flotation device. The couple were the only people aboard.

Conditions on the lake were windy, and the water was choppy. The boat began to drift away, and Mr. Flood was unable to swim back to the vessel or the tethered inner tubes. His wife was unsuccessful in finding him.

A search by multiple first-response agencies, including divers from two New York teams using sonar, were unsuccessful in locating Mr. Flood. The effort was suspended for the day at about 7:30 p.m. and is scheduled to resume at 8 a.m.Friday, July 6, with the Vermont State Police Dive Team.

Responding agencies Thursday from Vermont included the Vermont State Police, the Poultney Fire Department and the Wells Fire Department. New York first responders were the Corinth Fire Department Dive Team, the South Glens Falls Dive Team, and the Washington County Department of Public Safety.

That incident followed a situation off Shelburne Point on Monday evening when a group reported that a 41-year-old man they were kayaking with capsize. Members of the e group noted he said he planned to swim to shore after his kayak capsized  He was not wearing a life jacket, either.

During the Lake Champlain rescue effort, searchers covered 807 square miles during 29 hours of searches.

What’s wrong with this photo? Of the 54 boating-related deaths in northern New England in 2017, 39 involved boaters who were not wearing life jackets. 

Involved in the search were:

  • A Coast Guard Station Burlington 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew
  • A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew
  • Customs and Border Protection
  • Vermont State Police
  • Shelburne Fire Rescue
  • Charlotte Fire Rescue

“After an extensive search alongside our partners we made the difficult decision to suspend our search,” said Lt. Cmdr. Martin Bryant of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England said on Wednesday. He also stressed the importance of wearing a life jacket while boating.

Last year there were 54 recreational boating deaths in the Northeast. Thirty-nine of the 54 people who died drowned and 41 of the 54 deaths were the result of capsizing or falling overboard. Thirty-nine of the 54 people who died were not wearing a life jacket and 19 out of the 54 deaths involved a paddle craft.