Police: 2 Snowmobilers Die After Becoming Disoriented

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State police say four snowmobilers were coming home from dinner when two of them became disoriented, plunged into open water and, despite dramatic rescue efforts, died.

It happened at approximately 8 p.m. Monday on Rainbow Falls Reservoir in the town of Parishville in St. Lawrence County.

Investigator Jay Taylor told 7 News that four snowmobilers were coming from a dinner when the men who were leading the group became disoriented in the dark and snowy conditions.

Police said 87 year old Robert Whalen of Canton and 78 year old Robert Campbell of Norwood drove onto open water and submerged.

According to Taylor, Campbell's  56 year old son Daniel Campbell of Hamlin, New York, and 51 year old David Livingston of Conesus, New York, avoided the open water.

Taylor said the younger Campbell saw lights on at a cabin and raced to shore.

Once there, Daniel Campbell told a person at the cabin to call 911, borrowed a canoe and raced back to the accident scene, Taylor said.

According to Taylor, Livingston got into the canoe, while Daniel Campbell got on his stomach on the ice to try to rescue the men in the water.

Daniel Campbell fell into the water during the attempt.

Rescue crews arrived and pulled the three men out of the frigid water.

All three were taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital, where Whalen and Robert Campbell were pronounced dead.

The cause of death is pending investigation.

David Campbell was treated for hypothermia.

Livingston was not hurt.

Investigator Taylor said the men were on their way to their cabin after having dinner at an unknown location.

He said alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

Police said the two snowmobiles remain submerged in the reservoir and are expected to be removed in the coming days.

Robert Whalen was a well-known businessman in Canton; he was a partner with Witherbee & Whalen, a monument firm.

 

 

Thursday, October 2, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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