By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN
ALTON — Divers from the state Department of Fish and Game were searching Gilman Pond Wednesday afternoon for a man they feared drowned after falling out of a canoe late Wednesday morning.
A 9-1-1 call was placed shortly before 11 a.m. on Wednesday, requesting emergency help for a person who had fallen into the pond.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Sgt. Alex Lopshanski said two men were fishing in a canoe late Wednesday morning, when one of the men, a 67-year-old resident of Malden, Massachusetts, felt a fish bite his line.
"In attempting to set the hook, the victim went overboard and disappeared. His buddy paddled around looking for him, but he never surfaced again." The other man, a 66-year-old from Portsmouth, remained in the canoe and was not able to locate his fishing partner.
Rescue crews from Alton were assisted by Tuftonborough, West Ossipee, Farmington, Wolfeboro, Ossipee Corner and New Durham, as well as Fish and Game.
Though the pond is neither large nor, with a maximum depth of 17 feet, especially deep, divers continued their search through the afternoon. Visibility was hampered by thick weeds, with one diver likening the experience to swimming through an "underwater hayfield."
Evan Turcotte, deputy chief with the Alton Fire Department, was one of the first to respond to the scene. He noted that the incident unfolded in a very short matter of time, and underscored the reason for proper safety precautions. The canoeists had flotation devices in their vessel, but weren't wearing them at the time of the accident.
"It all happened in two minutes. No matter how small (the pond) is, no matter how shallow the water is, personal flotation devices are absolutely necessary," Turcotte said.
New Hampshire Fish and Game divers, accompanied by a documentary crew cameraman, head out onto Gilman Pond in Alton to search for a man who fell out of a canoe while fishing late Wednesday morning. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)
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