A City of Tonawanda man who was duck hunting off Grand Island this morning was rescued from the icy Niagara River waters after he fell out of his boat, Grand Island Fire Company Public Information Officer Ray Pauley said today.
Richard Sander, 61, was hunting near Motor Island, a six-acre island in the upper Niagara River off Grand Island, when he lost his balance and fell into the water, Pauley said.
Other hunters in the area were able to bring Sander to shore near a maintenance shed at Beaver Island State Park where medics treated him for hypothermia and transported him to Kenmore Mercy Hospital, fire officials said.
The island, designated a significant coastal fish and wildlife habitat by the state, serves as a nesting area for heron. Muskie spawn in the waters just off the island.
Once known as “Pirate Island,” Motor Island was a speakeasy during prohibition where Buffalonians would bring their boats for a night of gambling and drinking. It later became a private club. Walls and concrete barriers were built around the island.
The island is now off limits except to kayakers and canoers paddling by and duck hunters with state permits after a $1 million shoreline and habitat restoration effort by the New York Power Authority in 2012.