Leaving their group safely on shore, Ian and Luke responded when Jason blew three shrill notes on a whistle for help.
They maneuvered carefully to avoid the raging river hole.
“We tried to throw a rope to the victim. Then we saw that he was probably unconscious and somebody had to swim into him,” Luke said.
Climbing across a tree, the two tied Jason to a rope so that the older whitewater guide could swim in and retrieve the victim.
The trio managed to pull the unconscious man out of the swift water, but found Bill De Angelis unresponsive.
“We couldn’t get a pulse,” Luke said.
Ian and Luke started cardiopulmonary resuscitation and kept up their work until emergency personnel arrived.
“It took 45 minutes for the ambulance to get there. That is one of the main things about being in wilderness,” Ian added.
“When you’re out there, you are really on your own. But from Scouting and from Jason, we learned a sense of resiliency. The textbook definition may not fit, so you adapt.”
Bill De Angelis, 62, did not survive the whitewater accident on the Moose River that day, but his paddling companion Jeff Burger did.
The accident report indicated De Angelis, who was from Mount Laurel, N.J., had broken two vertebrae in his neck.
“Our main contact since then has been with his friend Jeff,” Ian said.
“We had a barbecue and did a little paddling in Saranac Lake since. It was really cool.
“I think it kind of helped with closure.”
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