Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oops! Winds blow skydiver off course

Here's my shot of a lifeguard high-fiving the skydiver he rescued from the ocean off Hampton Beach.

So I took Kathy and the kids to see the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival this afternoon. I covered it for the paper yesterday and was just amazed at all the delicious seafood at reasonable prices and the entertainment and other fun stuff, so I figured they'd enjoy it. Plus, a skydiving demonstration was planned for the afternoon and I knew the kids would dig that.

The highlight of the afternoon was, of course, the skydivers. Watching them being dropped from the sky over Hampton Beach was amazing. But it seems the news follows me everywhere. With thousands watching on, one of the skydivers got blown into the ocean. It was quite a sight seeing this poor skydiver landing about a half-mile out in the ocean instead of the beach, which is where he was supposed to end up.

Luckily I had my pen, reporter's notebook, and camera to capture it all, leaving the family in the dust.

For more details, read the story below.

By Jason Schreiber
Union Leader Correspondent

HAMPTON - Thousands of spectators watching a skydiving demonstration at Hampton Beach got quite a scare yesterday when strong winds blew one of the skydivers about a half-mile out into the ocean.

Skydiver Fred Cotreau was dropped from the plane buzzing over the crowded beach and said he knew he was in trouble within a matter of minutes. He was supposed to land on the beach like the others, but the wind pushed him too far out.

Many in the crowd gasped as the 43-year-old Cotreau dropped into the rough ocean waters stirred up by Tropical Storm Hanna. A lifeguard rushed into the water to rescue Cotreau, who escaped injury.

Cotreau, co-owner of Skydive New England, was among 11 skydivers who performed in the demonstration around 5 p.m. yesterday as part of the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival.

“I was trying to get home,” a soaked Cotreau announced to the crowd as people cheered his safe return to the beach.

In his 18 years of skydiving, Cotreau said this was the first time he’s ever had a water landing. The incident frightened spectators who feared that he would become tangled up in his parachute and drown.

When she realized that he had missed the landing, Kendra Ferm of Raymond said she worried about whether he could swim, especially in the ocean swells.

Others thought the ocean landing was part of the plan. “Initially we thought it was part of the act, but it was obvious when the lifeguard went out that someone was in trouble. It’s scary stuff,” said Maurice Consoli of Groveland, Mass.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Hey, Im Nick Africano. The Hampton Beach Lifeguard in the picture. Its awesome you were there to catch that story and great timing with the picture. I want to give some credit to the guards who got to him well before i did.

When he landed in the water two guards swam out for him; Dan Ryan and Pat Murphy. They made first contact and made sure he was ok until i got to him with a rescue board.

Do you have any more pictures from this? If so please Email me

Thank You!
Nick Africano