DANVERS — A local man who took his kayak out for what he probably expected to be an uneventful ride on the Porter River Sunday morning soon found himself in a frightening and possibly life-threatening situation.
The incident took place a little before 10:30 a.m., shortly after which the harbormaster's office received a call about a capsized kayaker in the Porter River.
The 27-year-old Danvers kayaker later told rescuers that his kayak had overturned not far from the town's Sandy Beach.
He told Danvers Harbormaster Christopher Sanborn that after the kayak got away from him, he tried to swim, then walk to shore, but he sank about three feet into the mud and was unable to move.
When Capt. Brian Barry arrived at the scene a bit after 10:30 a.m., he said Assistant Harbormaster Peter Longo was already near the man in a patrol boat and had thrown him a life ring and an emergency blanket. He was unable to get close enough to pull him aboard, however, because the water was too shallow for the patrol boat.
Barry said he waded out far enough to talk to the kayaker, who said he had tried to pull his feet, then legs, out of the mud, but the harder he tried, the deeper he sank.
By then other members of the Danvers Fire Department water rescue team arrived and launched their Zodiac boat, but, by that point, the water was so shallow that even the Zodiac was unable to get close enough to pull the stuck kayaker aboard.
The hero of the day turned out to be Christian Harvey, a 16-year Danvers teen, who was out in his family boat, when he saw the rescue effort underway and offered to help.
Luckily for the kayaker, Harvey was able to bring his boat close enough to the stuck man for him to pull himself up onto the gunwhales and into the boat. Harvey brought him to shore, where the water rescue team took over.
After at least 45 minutes in the 48-degree water, the man, who was not wearing a shirt, was cold and weak but, otherwise, conscious and alert.
He was transported to Beverly Hospital where he was checked out and treated for exposure. As of late Sunday afternoon, he was in good condition but was being kept at the hospital overnight as a precaution.