Man dies as boat sinks in Stillwater Reservoir

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TOWN OF WEBB — A Westmoreland man has died after law enforcement officials said his boat sank in the Stillwater Reservoir in Herkimer County and both he and a companion were stuck floating in choppy water for several hours Wednesday afternoon.

Jerry R. Jennings, age 69, of Route 26, was pronounced dead after being pulled from the water alongside his younger brother, according to Webb Police Chief Ron W. Johnston. The brother, 67-year-old Calvin D. Jennings, of Canajoharie, was hospitalized for hypothermia, authorities stated.

The cause of Jennings’ death is pending an autopsy.

“We don’t know if he died of hypothermia or cardiac issues or what,” Johnston stated.

Police said the two brothers were carrying a load of items from an island in the reservoir when their boat started taking on water. Police said the boat sank quickly and the two men were left floating in the choppy water about two to three miles from the Stillwater boat launch.

Both men were wearing life jackets, authorities stated.

“The waves were going right up over their heads,” Johnston said, describing waves as roughly 2 to 3-feet in height.

“They were floating out there for several hours,” he stated. It is believed they were on the water for about two to three hours.

A water taxi from Norridgewock Lodge passed by the area shortly before 5 p.m. and spotted a large amount of debris floating in the water, police said. The people on the water taxi then spotted the two brothers and pulled them onto their vessel. The two brothers were brought to shore.

Johnston said the search is continuing for the boat, which has not yet been recovered as of this morning. State Forest Rangers and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Dive Team are assisting in the search for the boat.

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