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Daring rescue on Lake Champlain likely saved the lives of 3 youn - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Daring rescue on Lake Champlain likely saved the lives of 3 young men

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BURLINGTON, Vt. - It was a daring rescue on Lake Champlain that likely saved the lives of three young men. As night was falling, two Burlington residents paddled out to reach a capsized canoe and pull the boaters from the frigid the water.

What started out as a nice evening on the lake almost turned into tragedy, but the three men who fell into the water were saved by an unlikely rescue team.

"It was peaceful, quiet, calm," said Amy Lipson from South Burlington.

Lipson was enjoying a nice evening outside with her friends Monday along Lake Champlain in Burlington, but then she noticed the bottom of a canoe sticking up out of the water and then heard screaming.

"When you hear screams like that, it's bone chilling, their pleas for help," said Lipson.


Lipson and another onlooker, Mike Saucier, grabbed two kayaks and raced to the water. They jumped in and paddled to the three men who had capsized their canoe.

"The key thing was the gentleman was nice enough to give me the life jacket because I had never kayaked," said Lipson.


Fire officials say if it weren't for Saucier and Lipson risking their own lives and paddling out to save those who fell overboard, they would have likely drowned. The Burlington Fire Department urges those who plan to go out on the water this time of year to be careful.

"If you go into the water, you're going to feel the effects so quickly that you really aren't going to be able to do much for yourself. Particularly as it gets close to dark. Stay out of the water, go out with a life jacket if you're going to, daylight is a much better time to do it," said Joe Keenan, assistant fire marshal for the Burlington Fire Department.

Burlington Fire officials say the rescued men were about 900 feet from shore, in 38 degree water.

"All three were showing signs of hypothermia, inability to move easily not able to talk clearly, but they were all conscious at the time they were brought out of the water," said Keenan.

First responders say the two good Samaritans saved the day, but Lipson remains modest.

"We went out. Didn't think twice, just went out," said Lipson.


According to the Burlington Fire Department, the three rescued men were transported to Fletcher Allen and treated for hypothermia. They are expected to make a full recovery.

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