NEWBURYPORT – A middle-aged man was rescued Wednesday morning from the Merrimack River, minutes after falling into the water while docked off Cashman Park.
Newburyport Harbormaster Paul Hogg said the owner of a 28-foot Pro-Line cruiser was cleaning out his septic system at a public pump at the park when the boat drifted away from the dock, causing him to fall into the water.
The boat owner managed to hold onto the craft as the tide carried it toward the North End Boat Club. He was then seen by an off-duty Newburyport firefighter on his own boat.
The firefighter called for help, bringing responders from the Fire Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and Hogg about 11:30 a.m.
Emergency personnel were able to haul the boat owner, who was not wearing a life jacket, out of the water and secure his vessel.
Hogg said the boat was then hauled out of the water and driven to the Newburyport Yacht Club, where the owner had it berthed. Hogg said it was fortunate the victim was spotted by the off-duty firefighter.
"It would have been a different story if he hadn't been seen," Hogg said, adding that the boat owner was unharmed.