Daniel Wood, 18, a senior at Columbian, was with his parents on vacation in Brant Rock, Mass., when he took a kayak into the water to rescue a boater thrown overboard. The boat’s other occupant had not been located as of Thursday afternoon.
Wood, who since has returned to Ohio, said he had been playing cards on the deck of the home of his father’s friend. A man saw a boat spinning out of control on the ocean, grabbed binoculars and could see a man trying to get into the boat, which still was running.
Wood said the man in the water couldn’t get on top of the boat, and he and his father grabbed a kayak. He recalled running down the beach and putting it in the water as others called 911. He said he paddled as quickly as he could and couldn’t see the man until he got close.
“I finally got to him,” he said.
Wood said the man couldn’t say much but told him he had saved his life and that he could not find his friend.
“He was exhausted,” he said.
There wasn’t room for both of them in the kayak, so the man laid over the front of it. Wood said he wrapped a life jacket around one of the man’s arms. Wood said they were too far from the shore for him to paddle him and the man in and he didn’t want to try to move the man, so they floated in the kayak for an estimated five to 10 minutes as they waited for help.
Russ Eonas, assistant district attorney for Plymouth County’s district attorney office in Brockton, Mass., identified the alleged driver of the boat as Justin McDonald, 22, of Marshfield, Mass., and said he was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence. He said McDonald was arraigned in Plymouth District Court Monday and pleaded not guilty.
Eonas identified the other occupant of the boat as Steven Woods, 23, of Marshfield. He would not comment about why the men were thrown overboard and said the state police force still was looking for Woods Thursday afternoon.
Wood assisted in searching for Woods after a harbor master arrived. He said they searched for about an hour and found his backpack, but not him.
Wood said McDonald was checked when he got to the shore and was not injured.
“He never went to the hospital or anything,” he said.
Wood said he was at the right place at the right time, and everyone was congratulatory of his efforts. He said he doesn’t know what made him think to grab a kayak when he learned of the man in the water.
He said it was the first thing he thought of, and adrenaline started pumping.
“I just reacted,” he said.
Source: The Advertiser-Tribune, 320 Nelson Street, Tiffin, Ohio 44883