A 64-year-old kayaker from Virginia was helped out of the water on the evening of July 9 by five first-responder agencies after his kayak overturned on the east side of the Esopus Creek above the dam.
“He was in no distress — he just couldn’t get back this kayak,” said Scott Campbell of the Saugerties Fire Department, which responded at Diamond Mills on Partition Street, along with the Saugerties Police Department, Ulster Hose Water Rescue and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office dive unit when a 911 caller alerted dispatchers to a distressed kayaker. “He was on top of the dam on the upper Esopus creek and he was right by the dam. The dam has a lot of silt in front of it, so you can stand — it’s not deep right there. He was standing in probably waist high worth of water. Just his ego was bruised.”
Officers were able to speak with the man, Tyrone Brian Pentony of New Canton, Va., from the west side of the dam. However, police said the current prevented them from reaching the east side; thus, the dive team braved the expanse in an inflatable Zodiac boat, the kind often seen in action films involving Navy Seals and choppy ocean waters. Pentony was taken to Saugerties Village Beach, where he was deemed unharmed by Diaz Ambulance personnel. Police said Pentony was in Saugerties visiting his sister; Campbell said the elapsed time between their response and the kayaker’s return to land was less than 20 minutes.
“It’s been the first [water rescue] in quite a few years — it’s rare for the village of Saugerties,” said Campbell.