LAKE GEORGE - A man from Glens Falls drowned in Lake George early on Memorial Day while swimming in the vicinity of the Steel Pier, authorities said.
At about 8 a.m. Monday May 30, rescue personnel from various area agencies responded to a report of a distressed swimmer near the pier.
Witnesses on the scene told authorities that a swimmer had been observed in the water, he had yelled for help and soon after disappeared under the water's surface, according to rescue personnel responding to the scene.
A search effort was conducted and the personnel included the dive team of the Horicon Fire Department. By 9:20 or so, Horicon fire chief Jim Hayes found the body of Thomas Richard Waite, 39, of Cherry St., Glens Falls.
His body was lying on the bottom of the lake under 28 feet of water, Hayes said.
The temperature of the water at that depth was 57 degrees, Hayes said.
Witnesses told authorities that Waite became disabled while attempting to swim from the boat dock area near Shoreline Cruises to Million Dollar Beach. Waite was not wearing cold-water swimming gear, and no flotation device, police said.
Hayes said Waite was wearing a full hooded sweatshirt and had a backpack in his possession, both of which may have impeded his swimming, Hayes said.
Hayes estimated the temperature of the water near the surface to be about 64 degrees, a temperature that officials say is not safe to swim in for those inexperienced in cold-water immersion.
According to an autopsy performed at Glens Falls Hospital, the cause of Waite's death was by asphyxiation due to drowning. The death is being ruled as accidental.
When Hayes and other dive team members brought Waite's body to the surface, it was lifted into the Hague Fire company's rescue boat, then transferred to a Warren County Sheriff's Department boat.
In addition to Jim Hayes, responding to the incident for the Horicon Dive Team were Scott Hayes, Mike Harrp, Ed Jay, Kevin Radford, Kascy Donohue, Bob Donohue, Poul Carstensen, Ron Chowske, Jack Higgins, Bob Hayes, and Roger Daby.
The Warren County Sheriff's Office was also assisted at the scene by members of the Lake George Volunteer Fire Department, the North Queensbury Volunteer Fire Co., the the Hague Volunteer Fire Co., and the Queensbury Central Volunteer Fire Co.