Search on Connecticut River for boater called off; report believed to be in error

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
NORTHAMPTON — A search begun at 4 p.m. Saturday for a person believed to be in the Connecticut River near the Coolidge Bridge was terminated a few hours later.

Authorities searched a wider reach of the river with no success, leading them to conclude that the report was made in error.

A witness had told authorities that a small boat appeared to have capsized. The person who reported the incident said at least one person was in the water.

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A state police helicopter was called in to conduct a final search.

The type of boat had not been positively identified. Authorities initially believed it was a small sailboat, canoe or kayak.

But after the search was fruitless, it was also thought possible that the person who reported the incident had seen a crew team out on the river and had mistaken a rowing shell for a capsized boat.

This time of year, the river’s water remains extremely cold due to snowmelt from the north and people subjected to the water risk hypothermia.