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Jim DE

Hope this wasn't one of us

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What do you make of these words from the article?

"The kayak was found in New Brunswick a few hours before the body was discovered. Authorities said the kayak was submerged in water, and the man's wet suit was also found in the area."


Means he brought a wetsuit but was not wearing it?

Submerged in water....meaning a sit in side kayak?


That's scary stuff.

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Could of been a SOT as well if water got into one of the hatches.


The wet suit comment was a bit odd.



Every year we lose kayakers to the sea. Hopefully, their deaths may make one more person wear a PFD and possibly save a life as well.


Kayaking is a dangerous sea activity: add to that fishing from this platform and the dangers double....and shouldn't be considered anything short of a life threatening activity. Participants should plan and practice ways to reduce their personal risks while kayak fishing.

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Accidents claim kayaker and swimmer


Tuesday, June 24, 2003




Star-Ledger Staff


Water-related recreation proved deadly for two New Jersey residents this past weekend, when a kayaker from Middlesex County and a swimmer from Bergen County took advantage of a break in the rainy weather.


In the swollen, muddy waters of the Raritan River, a kayaker who was attempting a 15-mile trek from Bedminster to South Bound Brook on Sunday never made it to his destination.


Dive teams, rescuers and the State Police recovered the body of Brian Tomsa, 37, at 2:15 a.m. yesterday near the Nevius Street Bridge, which connects Raritan Borough and Hillsborough Township. Tomsa's wife, Lisa, had reported him missing shortly before midnight when he didn't return to their Middlesex Borough home.


According to officials, Tomsa's 15-foot-long red kayak was found partially submerged in the river near the train bridge across the county line in New Brunswick. His life jacket was found north of the body on the banks of the river, said Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest.


"This is a terrible loss," said George Emre, who lives across the street from the Tomsas. "He was a good man, a family man, a hard- working man."


Lisa Tomsa and her husband drove to South Bound Brook Sunday morning, where they dropped off Brian Tomsa's truck for him to pick up later. She then drove him to the North Branch of the Raritan River, near Route 202 and River Road in Bedminster, where, at 10:30 a.m., he started his trip downstream.


Pete Pedner, who has been running Clinton Canoe and Kayak for 17 years, said that it was "insanity" to go out on the river yesterday.


"They think it's exciting when the river is like this," Pedner said. "In the river, rain is your No. 1 enemy."


According to Pedner, high water levels from rainfall bring in debris such as logs and dead wood that can create hazardous conditions. It is harder for kayakers, no matter the experience level, to react fast enough to a block in the water, he said.


Like Pedner, Steven Androsko, owner of the Griggstown Canoe and Kayak rental in Franklin Township, recognized the dangerous conditions and refused to rent equipment to patrons this past weekend.


"Even though it's hurting business, I haven't rented out the equipment," Androsko said. "It's just not safe when it's been raining and the river is flooding."


Though water levels in the Raritan River did not exceed flood stage on Sunday, the water level, which is usually 4 feet high in the Manville area, was double at 8 feet as of 11 a.m.


"Obviously the river was running high this weekend," said Somerset County principal hydraulic engineer Carl Andreassen. "That does make it more dangerous."


Lisa Tomsa declined to talk about her husband's death when approached at their two-family house on the corner of Union Avenue and Stout Street. Rolls of roofing material and roof shingles were piled on the front walkway, waiting to be installed.


"He was replacing the roof himself," said neighbor Liz King, who has known the Tomsas for about 10 years. "He was a hard worker. Everything he did around the house, he did himself."


According to King, the Tomsas had two daughters, ages 5 and 1. She said Tomsa also had a 17-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.


"He was a nice guy, quiet. You had to reach out to talk to him, but when you did he was funny," King said.


Jeff Tittel, New Jersey chapter director of the Sierra Club, emphasized that people don't realize how much rainfall can affect river conditions.


"It makes sense to stay out of the water at a time like (Sunday)," he said. "People can pretend like the Raritan's turned into the Colorado River during flooding, but only expert guides can navigate it."


The second victim, 20-year-old Christopher Beck of Garfield, drowned in Lake George in upstate New York on Sunday evening as he and a companion tried to swim from one island to another less than 50 yards away, according to police.


Beck was with a group of five people camping on an island near the southern end of the Adirondack lake, said senior investigator Thomas Aiken of the New York State Police. He got about halfway to the second island before he began to yell for help.

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