A Massachusetts man died late Saturday night in Lake Winnipesaukee after his canoe capsized in the lake's icy waters.

The State Police Marine Patrol said a group of four not wearing life jackets was on the lake in two separate watercraft, a two-person kayak and a canoe headed, to Grant Island from Wolfeboro around 11:05 p.m. The group soon decided to turn around.

Both boats overturned on their return trip throwing the group into the icy cold waters of the lake. The group attempted to swim back to shore holding onto one of the craft for floatation.

A friend who heard their cries for help from Grant Island paddled another canoe to assist them, according to State Police, who said he was able to pull three of the individuals out of the lake. Fish and Game and Wolfeboro Fire Rescue found the fourth person, a man from Massachusetts in 15 feet of water.

Police did not disclose the identities of those involved in the incident pending notification of the drowning victim's family.

Anyone with information related to this drowning is asked to call the State Police - Marine Patro at 603-227- 2115.

Icy Water Danger

Wakefield Fire/Rescue, one of several departments that assisted with the rescue, said on its Facebook page conditions were "tough" with dense fog and occasional rain.

According to the state Department of Environmental Services website the water temperature on Sunday morning was 38 degrees at its weather station at Weirs Beach.

The National Weather Service says being immersed in water below 50 degrees causes cold shock and an immediate loss of breathing control. Immersion in cold water is immediately life-threatening for anyone not wearing thermal protection, like a wetsuit or drysuit, and not wearing a life jacket.

Wolfeboro Police, Wolfeboro Fire, Tuftonboro Fire, Alton Fire, Fish and Game, NH State Police – Troop E and Marine Patrol Units also responded to the rescue.

Cold water advice from the Coast Guard includes:

  • Review safety gear prior to departure by ensuring lifejackets, navigation equipment, radio and fire extinguishers are functioning and know how to use them in an emergency.
  • Dress Appropriately. Wear a lifejacket, drysuit, or wetsuit.
  • File a float plan by telling a responsible person ashore where you are going, for how long and where/when you plan to return.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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