airboat searches drowned man in Galway Lake, New York

 
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published: Tuesday, 01 November 2011
by: Paul Post

GALWAY, New York — The body of a sailor from Saratoga Springs Naval Station was recovered at around 1 p.m. Monday in Galway Lake, where he was reported missing Sunday night.

Jacob Miller, 23, of Kansas City, Kan., reportedly went swimming in the lake’s frigid waters and failed to respond to a small group of fellow sailors on the shore who called for help at 7:20 p.m. Sunday.

Galway Lake 1

State forest rangers use an airboat to search Galway Lake for a man who went missing while swimming Sunday night.

Miller’s body was located in about eight feet of water off of Palmer Road, on the west side of Galway Lake, with a state police helicopter.

Saratoga County Coroner John DeMartino pronounced Miller dead at the scene. He was taken to Saratoga Hospital where county pathologist Dr. Michael Sikirica is scheduled to perform an autopsy at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

DeMartino said it would take some time before toxicology reports are available to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

State police are continuing their investigation.

State forest rangers using an airboat, state police divers and Galway fire officials resumed the search Monday morning after Sunday night’s effort proved fruitless.

Responders, including a state police helicopter and dive teams from the Corinth and South Glens Falls fire departments, stayed at the lake until about midnight Sunday.

Galway Lake 3

Officials search Galway Lake for a man who went missing while swimming Sunday night.

Firefighters said the sailor who went swimming and the sailors on the shore shouted back and forth to stay in contact, but the missing man suddenly stopped responding.

“They found his jacket and boots on the shoreline,” said a neighbor who requested anonymity. “We went out last night with our flashlights and tried to help. It was so dark.”

The resident said a small group of sailors lives nearby.

The missing man reportedly entered the water from a point at the end of Palmer Road. Responders spent most of Monday morning scouring a small cove where water averages about eight feet deep.

Forest rangers brought in an airboat on Monday from Great Sacandaga Lake where it’s stationed at Northville. A state police diver took part, and two troopers methodically searched the inlet with a rowboat.

Other troopers walked along the shoreline. The helicopter didn’t arrive until shortly after noon Monday, but quickly helped conclude the search.

Galway Ambulance Corps stationed two vehicles at the end of Palmer Road for searchers to warm up in.

The last Galway Lake drowning occurred about 10 years ago, and before that in 1992, Galway Fire Chief Russell DeRidder said.

“We don’t have them often out here,” he said.

In June 2009, a 20-year-old sailor from Idaho drowned while trying to swim across a narrow, swift-moving section of the Hudson River beneath Rockwell Falls in Luzerne. He had gone swimming with fellow sailors stationed at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory-Kesselring site in Milton.