Kayaker on Lake Erie Is Rescued By Neighbors (Updated)
When Timothy Gooding and Mark Humensky saw a kayaker in distress they came to his rescue
Updated at 10:30 a.m.
"I'm not dead."
Those were the words Robert Dilgren shouted to Timothy Gooding after he asked if he was OK.
Gooding, 61, had noticed that Dilgren, 60, had flipped out of his kayak about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday in Lake Erie near Lake Overlook Drive.
Gooding then asked Dilgren if he need help and Dilgren shouted, "Yes."
At the time, Gooding did not know that Dilgren was in cardiac arrest. He just knew he needed help.
Gooding went to get his kayak to get Dilgren out of the water. At the same time, Gooding's neighbor, 55-year-old Mark Humensky, came out to help.
"Mark's the better kayaker so we put him in the boat and shoved him off," Gooding said.
Humensky paddled about 100 yards offshore to Dilgren. He towed him part of the way back, but Dilgren was not strong enough to hold onto the kayak, so Humensky dived into the lake to swim him back.
"When I saw Mark dive in, I stripped down and swam out to them," Gooding said. "By the time I got to (Dilgren,) he was unconscious."
The good Samaritans kept Dilgren's head above water as they got him to the beach. Then the two took turns giving him CPR.
They continued to help even after paramedics arrived on scene. Firefighters put Dilgren on a backboard and used Gooding's ATV to get him to the ambulance.
Paramedics took the Dilgren to TriPoint Medical Center in Concord Township, Mentor Fire Battalion Chief Terry Szabo said. At around midnight, he was transferred to the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland.
Szabo said he had not received any update on the man's condition since he was taken to Cleveland Clinic.
Szabo thanked Gooding and Humensky for what they did.
"We want to thank the gentlemen who provided assistance," Szabo said. "That made a big difference."
Gooding knows Dilgren. Both of them grew up and still live in the Headlands neighborhood of Mentor. He said he would occasionally see Dilgren kayaking in Lake Erie.
On Wednesday morning, Gooding dropped off Dilgren's glasses and a photo he recently snapped of Dilgren kayaking in the lake at the fire station.
"I hope he's all right," Gooding said.