NEW HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Crews wrapped up searching around 4 p.m. Friday after police say a kayaker disappeared into West Hill Lake.
Police say around 6 a.m., they got a phone call from a friend saying the 53-year-old woman had been missing since 8:30 Thursday night. They say at some point she took out her kayak and has not been seen since. Police found her empty kayak on the ice.
Around 7 a.m. Police knocked on Nancy Weir’s door.
“He [the officer] asked about some kayakers and I guess there was a boat accident of some kind out on the lake,” said Weir. “I couldn’t imagine anyone going out there at night and she didn’t have a life preserver.”
Police say it’s unlikely she was wearing a life jacket. Early Friday afternoon, search teams turned it a recovery search.
“Anyone that goes into the water is going to go down real quick ’cause the waters so cold,” said Winsted’s Ken Romaniello.
“Our investigation shows she is an experienced kayaker,” said ENCON police Sgt. Tate Begley. “We’re still investigating the surrounding circumstances of the time of night and the conditions.”
For several hours search crews scoured the water with boats and on the land with rescue dogs. State Police Dive Teams used side-scan sonar to help see through the half frozen lake. By the end of the day they stopped searching the shore and focused on the water, but they didn’t find anything or anyone.
“If this ends up locking up tonight, we’re going to keep on searching first thing tomorrow morning as long as we can get our equipment in and the ice doesn’t lock up the lake,” said Begley.
Neighbors describe the woman who is missing as a nice lady who loved the outdoors.
“It is very, very sad and I give lots of prayers to the family and the search crews,” said Weir. “I hope they can find her.”
Police say they’re not releasing her name as they’re still working to notify next of kin.