Sheriff David Gould reports that The Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office Navigation Unit made a life-saving water rescue after a boating accident on Lake Ontario Saturday afternoon potentially saving the lives of three subjects.
Deputy Tom Cordway and Navigational Assistant Terry Lozier were patrolling on Lake Ontario in the area of McIntyre Bluffs when they observed a boat approaching from the east.
It was approximately 1 mile from the shore line with no other boat traffic in view.
When they were about a mile apart, they observed that it was now veering left doing circles.
They approached the boat and were unable to observe anyone on board.
As they got closer, they were able to see two subjects in the water waving and yelling for help; neither had personal floatation devices.
Subjects stated they were traveling at approximately 30 miles per hour when the boat veered to the left throwing the two males overboard and leaving the female on board unconscious.
Christopher Pritchard (age 19, Oswego) was uninjured.
Matthew Pritchard (age 22, Oswego) had struck the prop and his right ankle was nearly amputated.
Both were assisted onto the Sheriff’s Boat while Fair Haven Rescue was requested.
The boat was still operating out of control on its own.
Ashlie Crawford (age 21, Oswego) regained consciousness and was able to cut the boat engine and board the Sheriff’s boat as well.
All three were transported to medical personnel waiting at the Fair Haven State Park boat launch.
Matthew was transported to Upstate, Syracuse, via ambulance where they were able to reattach his foot.
Ashlie was transported to Upstate via Mercy Flight where she was being treated for head and internal injuries.
Subsequent inspection of the boat, a 1992 24’ Baja Outlaw, found all required safety equipment on board.
Cause of the accident was determined to be mechanical failure when the steering cable came unhooked from the anchor point in the engine compartment causing a sudden left turn while the boat was traveling at approximately 30 miles per hour.
Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Fair Haven Fire Department, Fair Haven Village Ambulance, Rural Metro Ambulance, Mentor Ambulance, Cayuga County Emergency Management and the New York State Park Police.