REDWOOD — A 28-year-old woman drowned in the St. Lawrence River Wednesday after the canoe she was in capsized off a bay east of Kring Point State Park.
Police identified the woman who drowned as Cookie L. Brown, Syracuse. Her body was recovered by the State Police Underwater Recovery Team. She was pronounced dead and the removal over her body to Claxton-Hepburn Medican Center in Ogdensburg was authorized by St. Lawrence County Coroner Kevin Crosby. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday, July 16.
At 8:40 a.m., Harry Holck heard someone yelling outside the cabin he and friends were staying during their vacation along the St. Lawrence River. As he scanned Pine Bay, the shore just feet from the cabin they’re renting, Mr. Holck saw a canoe tipped on its side.
Another friend who is staying with him, Jack Feltz, jumped on a boat with another person and drove out to where the canoe was tipped. Mr. Feltz said he found a man clinging to the side of the canoe, indicating that another woman, who wasn’t wearing a life jacket and couldn’t swim, had been inside the canoe with him.
With just a snorkel, Mr. Feltz started diving in the water, which is about 40 feet deep.
“I tried to find her,” he said. “I just couldn’t see anything. 25 feet was as far as I could dive.”
The man was pulled into a boat and safely recovered from the canoe.
Meanwhile, Mr. Holck dialed 911 from shore. One of the first authorities there was a state trooper who was taken to the scene on a boat driven by Doug Alling.
Mr. Alling said the trooper came to his waterfront house and told him of the reported canoe tipping. He drove the trooper by boat to the scene, where they found the vacationers. At that point, Mr. Alling was told, the woman had been submerged for 10 minutes.
A rescue boat from the Alexandria Bay Fire Department was there quickly as well, along with more troopers and divers from Hammond and the state police. A helicopter from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police circled the bay as well.
“I give all the credit to the first responders,” said Mr. Holck, of Saratoga. “It was an amazingly fast response.”
After over an hour of searching, the woman’s body was located, said James E. Smith, a state trooper and station commander in Ogdensburg.
Mr. Smith said woman was from Syracuse and in the area for the summer caretaking for the cabins.
“The St. Lawrence River, the way the current is,” he said, “it’s extremely strong if you’ve never been in it.”