West Ossipee – July 6, 2009 — The West Ossipee Fire Department plucked a kayaker from the raging Bearcamp River on Friday using an airboat designed for river rescues, according to a report on WMUR-TV.
Fire Department officials said the kayaker tipped over after entering the river, and clung to his craft for 15 to 30 minutes before it was swept away. He was with a group of other kayakers who called for help.
The fire chief said the fact that the kayaker was wearing a life jacket helped save his life, according to the TV station report.
June’s unusually heavy rains have created challenging conditions on the popular Bearcamp and on the other tributaries entering the lake. Officials estimate the water flow is seven to eight times faster than normal.
At the time of Friday’s rescue, the lake was 1.5 ft. higher than summer level, according to the DES Dam Authority’s website. On Saturday the lake crested at 2.5 ft. above summer level and has started to recede, although some lake residents still have water surrounding their homes and many docks remain tied to the shoreline to prevent them from floating away.
While the Ossipee River dam is open to allow water to escape, it could take until the weekend before the lake returns to its summer level – provided that there is no additional heavy rainfall.
Memories of the July 4th weekend floods of 1972.
The following was posted today on the Magic 104 Radio (Conway) website:
THE NEW HAMPSHIRE MARINE PATROL IS URGING ANYONE NAVIGATING ON OSSIPEE LAKE NEAR LONG SANDS, THE BEARCAMP RIVER OR THE PINE RIVER TO USED EXTREME CAUTION AS THERE IS A LARGE AMOUNT OF DEBRIS IN THE WATER FROM RECENT HEAVY RAINS.
With so many docks severely under water,it is a shame:
1) that the N.H. marine patrol is not enforcing “no wake “ within 150ft of shore
2) that the marina are not reminding their tenants and their renters of the unusual conditions so many lake front properties are experiencing
3) that boaters do not understand headway speed as opposed to speed that causes wakes
The following is from the Associated Press and WMWV-FM (Conway):
Associated Press – July 6, 2009 2:55 PM ET
CONWAY, N.H. (AP) – The police chief in West Ossipee, N.H., says he’s working to deter inexperienced boaters to enter the Bearcamp River after a rash of weekend canoe and kayak capsizings due to high water levels and too much debris.
At the time the river was running unusually high, fast and cold due to recent storms, West Ossipee Fire Chief Brad Eldridge told WMWV-FM he saw logs, a picnic table and even a propane gas tank float by.
The New Hampshire Marine Patrol issued a warning for anyone navigating on Ossipee Lake near Long Sands, the Bearcamp River or the Pine River to use extreme caution because of such debris.