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Chichester man injured after jumping off boat

A 23-year-old man from Chichester was injured Sunday while jumping from a boat into Lake Winnisquam, officials from the Marine Patrol and Sanbornton Fire/Rescue said. As of press time, his name had not been released and neither agency had updates on his medical condition.

The accident happened about 12:45 p.m., when the man’s friends said he jumped from the boat so he could help guide it to a spot around a popular sandbar, said Sanbornton Deputy Fire Chief Scott Taylor. The popular sandbar is located near where Route 3 crosses “Mosquito Bridge,” Taylor said, and at least 100 other boats were anchored there Sunday afternoon. The water depth in that area can change quickly from 2½ feet to 15 feet, Taylor said.

The man misjudged the water depth where he jumped in and hit the bottom hard enough that he lost feeling in his extremities, Taylor said. Officer Jason Patten of the Marine Patrol had been out on the water and responded to the scene first. When Sanbornton Fire/Rescue arrived, there were about 20 people in the water around the man, helping keep him afloat and conscious, Taylor said.

The officers thought the man may have had a spinal injury because of the numbness in his extremities, so they were very careful in pulling him into the rescue boat, Taylor said. From the boat, he was taken to an ambulance parked at Winnisquam Marina and then to Lakes Region General Hospital. A helicopter was waiting there to transport him to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in case he did damage to his spine.

“Our concern was the nature of the injury, and he was complaining of some spinal injuries,” Taylor said. “We erred on the side of caution.”

Taylor did not have any information about the man’s injuries as of last night. Sgt. Crystal McLain of the Marine Patrol said his name wasn’t immediately released because officials wanted to communicate with his family first.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or or on Twitter @kronayne.)

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