CLA harvester temporarily capsized on Chautauqua Lake

LAKEWOOD — Chautauqua Lake Association Executive Director, Douglas Conroe, has reported that at approximately 1 p.m. Tuesday, a lake vegetation harvester encountered rough water and capsized off the Lakewood shoreline while being towed back to the Chautauqua Lake Association headquarters for service. Just before it capsized, the harvester’s operator was able to move to safety on the towing vessel. There were no personal injuries involved.

The 1982 harvester began to show evidence that it was taking on water, so CLA staff began to tow it to the maintenance shop. Efforts to right the vessel at the time were unsuccessful. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the incident and CLA personnel collaborated with the Sheriff’s Navigation Division to assure site safety. CLA staff installed a warning buoy at the site along with placing nighttime flashing warning lights on portions of the vessel that remain above the lake surface. Salvage operations resumed this morning and continued until noon with unsuccessful results. Operations have been discontinued while the CLA assembles additional resources. Work is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.

“We are so thankful that there was no personal injury or loss of life involved with this unfortunate experience. The harvester operator is to be complimented for his awareness of the situation and for his quick thinking that resulted in what could otherwise have been a much worse situation,” said Conroe. “He has been reassigned to a different piece of equipment. Our harvesting operations are continuing with our other five harvesters while we work to salvage the capsized harvester and we have every expectation that we will be able to return it to service at some future date.For more information about the Chautauqua Lake Association or to make a donation to lake clean-up efforts, visit the CLA on the web at www.chautauqualakeassociation.org or call 763-8602. You can also visit the CLA on Facebook.

The CLA’s mission is to provide effective and efficient lake maintenance services for the benefit of all Chautauqua Lake users. As the “Stewards of the Lake,” the CLA serves to promote and facilitate the ongoing scientific monitoring of Chautauqua Lake and its ecosystem.

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