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Capsized kayaker on Nashawannuck Pond may have been trying to install Charlie Brown cutout on Christmas tree raft



Tuesday, December 23, 2014
EASTHAMPTON — The kayaker rescued from Nashawannuck Pond by Easthampton firefighters Monday may have been trying to install a Charlie Brown cutout on the raft that holds a Christmas tree in the middle of the pond, according to Fire Chief David Mottor.

Firefighters rescued the man, found clinging to the raft, around 8 p.m. Monday. They later returned to the raft to retrieve the man’s boat. Inside, they found a 3-foot-tall cutout depicting the likeness of classic cartoon character Charlie Brown, according to Mottor.

Mottor said he believes the unidentified man braved the cold in an attempt to install the homage to the Peanuts character.

“I can see what his intent was, but a practical joke isn’t worth losing your life over,” Mottor said, estimating the water temperature to be in the low 40s. “It’s cold enough to cause hypothermia.”

Police Capt. Robert Alberti said that he does not believe the man will be charged with a crime because it does not appear any laws were broken.

Some communities, including Amherst, have threatened to make people pay for the cost of their rescues if reckless behavior led to an emergency rescue. But Alberti said that has never happened in Easthampton in the 16 years he has worked there.

“We’re going to help whoever needs it,” he said. It also did not require any extra costs, such as overtime, because officers and firefighters who responded were already on duty.

Staff Writer Rebecca Everett contributed to this report. Chris Lindahl can be reached at clindahl@gazettenet.com.