Kayaker drowns in reservoir

ST. JOHNSVILLE — An kayaker who was reported to have struggled in the water at the Beardslee Reservoir on Friday was quickly located with the help of multiple agencies, and found dead.

The Ilion man who had been reported to struggle in the water and go under was located and identified as 57-year-old Donald W. Stannard.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office received a report on Friday at approximately 8:30 a.m. of an unoccupied kayak with some personal belongings discovered on Beardslee Reservoir near the Montgomery County and Herkimer County line.

Upon arrival and after some investigation, deputies discovered that a witness saw a man in the water near the kayak who appeared to struggle and go under water.

According to the press release, the responding deputy immediately called for help in which assisting at the scene were members of the Montgomery County Emergency Services Office, the state police, St. Johnsville Volunteer Fire Department, St. Johnsville Volunteer Ambulance Corp., the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office.

A search of the area was done both on land and in water using jet-skis, Sea-doos, boats, sonar, the K-9 unit, a helicopter, divers and manpower.

After an extensive search, Stannard was located in approximately 10 feet of water on the northeast side of the reservoir.

Stannard’s body was recovered and he was pronounced dead at the scene by Montgomery County Coroner Susan Quackenbush.

Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith said his cause of death was determined to be drowning.

Smith said with assistance from surrounding local agencies and their partnership to share equipment used made locating Stannard “much simpler.”

He said they were “lucky” enough to locate Stannard in a “short amount of time” rather than searching for days. He said it also make it so they could notify the family much quicker.

“Anyone in an area of water should utilize the life jacket,” Smith said. “Even if you can swim, have a buddy system and always let someone know where you are going.”


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