By THOMAS P. CALDWELL
LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A Messer Street resident came to the rescue after two young boys who were swimming at the foot Lake Opechee got caught in the current and were swept downstream on Friday afternoon.
Sefik Kosut, 49, of 125 Messer St., said, “I’m in the right place at the right time.”
Kosut said he heard cries for help and saw the two boys in the Winnipesaukee River, with one of them showing distress.
“I tried to make him come close to shore where it was more shallow, but he was scared and going down, so I jump in and grab him,” Kosut said, adding that the boy had gone under the water at least twice before he reached him.
The second boy was able to get out on his own and went to the railroad bridge to call for help.
Fire Chief Ken Erickson said firefighters responded to a water rescue call at 1:13 p.m. Lt. Jay Ellingson arrived from Central Station and found Kosut in the water, about 100 feet from shore, holding the boy afloat.
While the rescue team was preparing its inflatable boat, firefighter Nate Mills jumped in the river and swam out to the two people, putting the boy in a life jacket and bringing him to shore. Both boys were transported to Lakes Region General Hospital for an assessment, with the boy in the river being treated for near-drowning.
Kosut said later that the N.H. Marine Patrol informed him that the boy was fine.
Erickson said, “There’s no question, if he didn’t jump into the water, it would have been different.”
“I grow up on a mountain river, and all my life spend time in the water,” Kosut said. “I’m not a strong, but good swimmer. I know when I was young, the same thing happened to me, and friends save me, so I learned to take care of myself.”
He told firefighters, “I couldn’t let him die. So I jumped in. Thankfully, we were home having a late-afternoon cookout.”
Erickson said the boys apparently were alone at the time of the emergency, and the department was attempting to notify their parents.
The water rescue call came in at a particularly busy time for the fire department, which received four emergency calls in an hour, Erickson said.
“While at the river rescue, the Weirs crew and a Gilford ambulance responded to 1330 Union Ave. for an unconscious person,” he said. “The Weirs (crew) had just cleared from a motor vehicle crash on Summit Avenue. As soon as the units cleared Messer Street, there was another serious medical emergency on Court Street. That person had to be transported to Concord Hospital. Minutes later, there was an alarm activation at the Taylor Home. While at that location, there was another serious medical emergency on Summer Street.
“Earlier that morning, at 8:15 a.m., there were two simultaneous medical emergencies. Both patients were high-risk,” he said.
07-21 Water Rescue
At right, Laconia firefighters, including Nate Mills, along with Messer St. resident Sefik Kosut, help get a boy to shore from the Winnipesaukee River after he and another boy were caught in the current on Friday afternoon. (Courtesy Photo, Laconia Fire Department)
- Written by Tom Caldwell
- Category: Local News
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