by Ray Pauley
Public Information Officer
Grand Island Fire Co.
Shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, Grand Island Fire Co. rescue personnel responded to a distress call for a man in the Niagara River near a boat dock area at 4552 East River Road. A neighbor, June D'Angelo, had noticed a duck hunter whose kayak began to take on water and sink when she alerted her husband, Dan, as well as the GIFC.
The boater, in heavy waders, struggled to reach the end a dock where he held onto pilings to keep from drowning. Meanwhile, Dan D'Angelo threw him a rope and guided him into shallow water as GIFC rescue crews arrived on location.
Deputy Fire Chief Chris Soluri reported that 36-year-old Jon Korzen of Grand Island was treated for hypothermia due to 15 to 20 minutes of exposure to cold water temperatures and transported by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for further evaluation.
The Erie County Sheriff's Office marine unit later recovered the Korzen watercraft and shotgun, which had drifted about an eighth of a mile downstream.
Fire officials indicated that Korzen was extremely fortunate that Mrs. D'Angelo had looked toward the river when she did and responded as she did, because there were no other boaters/hunters in the vicinity, which severely limited a satisfactory outcome.
All participating units returned to service by 8:27 a.m., according to Soluri.