Man dies, woman rescued after plunge into Westport river Saturday night
WESTPORT — An accident that caused a car to slide into the Saugatuck River Saturday night claimed the life of a elderly male occupant but quick moving rescue workers were able to save a woman also thrown into the chilly river.
Richard Lamendola, 76, of Syosset, New York was pulled from the river about a half hour after the accident and taken to Norwalk Hospital, where he later died, police said. The woman who was rescued has not been identified.
The car entered the river from the state boat launch off Elaine Road, but as of Sunday morning police had not offered an explanation as to why or how the vehicle ended up in the water. No foul play is suspected, police said.
The rescue began around 7:30 p.m. after the car slid into the Saugatuck River with two on board and alert diners at the Whelk Restaurant, 575 Riverside Avenue, heard a woman screaming for help. The diners called police, who also called in the town’s fire department and a dive team.
The first two emergency responders on scene commandeered a civilian boat with the keys in it and darted out to pick up a screaming woman in the middle of the cold river, who police said was struggling with the current and being swept away. The woman told rescuers that her male companion was also in the water.
The man was located near the Bridge Street bridge and was pulled from the water as well. He was treated at the scene and taken to the hospital, police said.
The accident remains under investigation, police said.