Accident Database

Report ID# 1043

  • Unknown
  • Hypothermia
  • Near Drowning
  • Cold Water
  • Solo Paddling

Accident Description


“First, save my canoe, “ said a man standing waist-deep in the swift, chilly waters of the Concord River near Billrica, Massachusetts , in mid-December. A passerby saw him get swept over ten-foot-high Faulkner Falls and called police. He flipped, but somehow hot a foothold on some mid-stream rocks with his canoe. There was no sign of a life vest, wetsuit, or extra flotation. The firemen brought a ladder truck extended a ladder over the canoeist, and dropped a rope to him. Instead of securing the rope to himself as he was told, he tied it to his canoe.

All but one of the police cruisers left. “We have better things to do than mess with someone who wants his canoe saved first,” an officer said. “This guy is not the brightest bulb on the circuit; if he loses his footing on a rock, two of us will be required to go into the river after him.” The canoeist, Peter Anderson, 32, was rescued on the ladder truck’s second trip and hospitalized with hypothermia. No word about what happened to his canoe.

SOURCE: TVCC Newsletter

Author’s Note: A funny story, but a disturbing one, too. Clearly the rescuers didn’t know that one symptom of hypothermia is irrationality. Saving property is a valid concern for rescuers, and it would have been far more professional to humor the individual and recover the boat.

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