Firefighters rescue kayaker from Pawcatuck River

Hopkinton, R.I. - Firefighters rescued a man in his 20s Saturday night from the Pawcatuck River after his kayak tipped over and he wound up clinging to a tree branch for nearly an hour, Ashaway Fire Department Chief Michael Williams said.

The man was still being evaluated at the scene at 10 p.m. but was not injured and was not expected to be transported to the hospital, Williams said.

“He’s just cold,” Williams said. The man, who was not immediately identified, did not have a life jacket and was in the water for nearly an hour while a rescue boat traveled nearly 1 mile upstream to reach him. The incident occurred in the area where the Wood River and Pawcatuck River meet.

“It certainly could have been a lot worse,” Williams said. “He’s very lucky. He was able to grab a tree branch and hold on as long as he did.”

Williams said a group of about three or four men in their 20s decided to go kayaking Saturday night and the river was high from the rain.

After one of the kayaks flipped over, the other friends docked their kayaks, ran to a house near the river and called for help. A rescue boat from Charleston, R.I., was the first to reach the distressed man.

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