NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Rescue crews suspended a recovery operation on Monday night, some 8 hours after a missing man went into the water off of Norwalk.
The U.S. Coast Guard received an emergency call around 12:25 p.m. for an overturned kayak or canoe at Calf Pasture Beach, CBS affiliate WFSB-TV, Hartford reported.
One person was still missing as of 11 p.m. after four people went into the water, officials told CBS 2. The missing person was reported to be a 40-year-old man with a wife and two children.
The men had fishing gear and a cooler with them and were trying to get to Calf Island at the edge of Norwalk Harbor, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.
The canoe was apparently swamped by two waves before it filled with water and sank. At this point in the season falling in the water can be a shock to the system that can disable a person quickly.
“The water temperature is 58 degrees,” Norwalk Police Lt. Paul Resnick said.
In what began as a rescue mission, but has since become a recovery operation, Coast Guard officials were searching by means of a 25-foot response boat in the water, an overhead plane, and a helicopter.
On Monday night, the man’s friends gathered with candles near the boat ramp where he left on what was supposed to be a brief fishing excursion.
A woman told CBS 2’s Young that the man and his friends were excited to be getting out on the water.
“They said, ‘we’re going fishing, tomorrow’s Memorial Day,’ he’s off because he works very hard,” the distraught woman said.
Horrified onlookers at Calf Pasture beach said that they felt helpless as it all happened.
“Everyone rushed over to the pier, you know the people here at the beach, and then the life guard came over and they started using the walkie-talkie,” Leslie Tejada said.
The boat that the men were in was apparently overloaded. Police said that this never should have happened.
“If you have a two-man canoe, you should have two men, not four. I think you should have a life-preserver for each party and you should be wearing that life-preserver,” Lt. Resnick said.
Search boats equipped with side-scan sonar and dive teams will return at first light. The missing man’s friends said they will return as well for confirmation of their worst fears.
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