Waterford firefighters help man clinging to Jet Ski to safety

Waterford — Three adventure seekers on personal watercraft made a safe return to the shore Wednesday afternoon after one of their Jet Skis broke down near Two Tree Island.

Around 3:30 p.m., firefighters from the Goshen Fire Department launched their boat from the Pleasure Beach boat launch to go out to find a father and son who were attempting to tow to shore an inoperable craft.

Firefighters were called in after a woman who was with the two men called 911 from shore.

Goshen Fire Chief Don Chapman said it appeared one man rode his craft to shore to retrieve a tow rope while the second man stayed at Two Tree Island with the inoperable craft. Two Tree Island is essentially a rocky outcropping that is fully above water only at low tide, Chapman said.

After searching for several minutes, Chapman said firefighters encountered the two men in the water attempting to get to shore but were hindered by the tide and strong winds that were pushing them toward Niantic. Firefighters plucked one man from the water and brought him and his broken watercraft to shore. The second man rode to shore on his own.

One man was briefly evaluated for signs of hypothermia in a waiting Waterford ambulance, but all refused medical treatment, Chapman said.

“We went out for one last ride of the year, entertaining some visiting guests from New Hampshire,” said James Luce of Quaker Hill, through chattering teeth.

Luce said he was out with his son, also named James Luce, and friend Laura Zerra, a survivalist who has appeared on the Discovery Channel series “Naked and Afraid.” All were wearing wet suits and taking turns riding and jumping waves.

“We wanted some end-of-the-year adventure. We got it,” the elder Luce said.

Chapman said he was glad all were safe, but added, “I think they’re a little crazy to be out there with the wind, rain and cold weather.”

g.smith@theday.com

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