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Clifton Park man, 82, was kayaker struck by rented motorboat; leg & kneecap broken

By Gordon Woodworth, Chronicle News Editor

Here is more detail obtained by The Chronicle about serious injuries caused when a rented motorboat on Lake George struck a kayak last Friday, Aug. 9.

The kayaker was a Clifton Park resident, 82, whose name was not disclosed.

“He had a broken femur on his left leg and a big wound from the propeller, and a smaller wound and a broken kneecap on his right leg,” Sgt. Angelo Paccione of the Lake George Park Commission said.

“I spoke to his son on Saturday, and he said he was severely injured and had a long road ahead but was doing okay. I talked to the family’s attorney yesterday, and they said he was still in Albany Med.”

Sgt. Paccione said that at about 4 p.m. last Friday, DEC camp ranger Kathleen Lujbli was in a boat when she came upon the accident. Ms. Lujbli, who lives in Lake George, is also a physician’s assistant.

“She didn’t see it, but she came upon it, and got on the radio and said there were two people in the water,” Sgt. Paccione said. “I was a couple of minutes away, and when I got there, I saw the victim…in the water. His wife was also in the water, and was in a separate kayak, but she was not hit by the boat. I think she was knocked out of the kayak by the wave.

“The guy operating the boat, Gary Brill from New Jersey, never saw the kayakers, he told me. I saw what the man’s leg looked like — he was cut pretty badly — and was going to leave him in the water but he started shaking and going into shock.

“So Kathleen, who is a physician’s assistant, tied to my boat and came on board my boat, and together we lifted him into the boat. I then drove to Green Island, where Bolton EMS was waiting, and Kathleen bandaged him. Bolton EMS transported him to Glens Falls Hospital, and then he was sent to Albany Med.”

Sgt. Paccione said the victim “was tough as nails. He never flinched when we got him into the boat. They gave him a shot of morphine in the ambulance, and wanted to give him another, but he said he didn’t w

ant another shot.

“They had rented the kayaks from the Lake George Kayak Company. They said they are experienced kayakers and usually bring their own kayak.”

Sgt. Paccione said, “We get a lot of complaints from kayakers about motorboats coming too close, but, knock on wood, we don’t get a lot of these incidents.”

Sgt. Paccione said, “The boat was a 19-foot Carolina Skiff that was rented from Chic’s Marina. The operator of the boat said he never saw the kayakers, but he had four or five kids [in the boat] with him and one of the kids saw them.

“They were in bright orange kayaks and they were waving their paddles in the air, so he took a hard right and that put the propeller right over the man’s legs.”

Asked if Mr. Brill was an experienced boater, Sgt. Paccione said, “He said he had no experience.”

Sgt. Paccione said the Warren County Sheriff’s Office was notified and investigated the incident, but “they didn’t see any criminality, but I did issue the operator a summons for reckless operation.”

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