ROTTERDAM -- A man drowned in the Mohawk River late Thursday afternoon near the Western Gateway Bridge despite the efforts of a passerby who entered the river in an attempt to save him.
The passerby, Schenectady teacher and Rotterdam resident Dan Brudos, reached the man and pulled him to shore, but the man showed no signs of life, Brudos said.
A Daily Gazette photographer captured the scene as Brudos pulled the man to shore.
Schonowe Fire Chief Mark VanCort confirmed later that the man pulled from the river had died. VanCort did not have further information on how or why the victim ended up in the water. Rotterdam police could not be reached Thursday evening.
The incident happened before 4 p.m. in an area off the bike path at the bridge.
Brudos, a fourth-grade teacher at Howe Elementary School in Schenectady, was biking home to his residence in Rotterdam when a man on the trail drew his attention to the water, Brudos said.
Someone had just jumped into the river from the bridge, Brudos recalled the person saying.
"I went over and looked and decided he was close enough that I could maybe try to get him in, so I did that," Brudos, 58, told the Gazette by phone later.
Brudos said he's an EMT with Plotterkill. He reached the man, grabbed on to him and began swimming with him to shore.
By then, other rescuers had arrived.
VanCort and other members of the Schenectady County Water Rescue Task Force responded to the scene and VanCort threw a rescue line to Brudos, helping Brudos back the rest of the way to safety.
"I was pretty tired by the time I got back to shore," Brudos said.
"Hopefully he would have survived, unfortunately, I don't think he did," Brudos said.
VanCort commended Brudos for his effort.
"I think it's a good thing that he did," VanCort said. "It's a good thing to assist somebody that had fallen into the water. He took it upon himself to go in there and try to help out and rescue the individual, not knowing what the circumstances were."
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