Scotch Plains Man Hits Wrong Button On Scooter, Ends Up In Canal

Responders help a 71-year-old Scotch Plains man out of the D&R Canal Sept. 12, after he pushed the wrong button on his power chair. Photo: Franklin Township Police Department.

A push on the wrong button on a power chair ended up with a 71-year-old man needing a rescue from the Delaware & Raritan Canal Sept. 12.

Police said that the Scotch Plains man, who was not identified, was riding a “Jazzy” scooter along the canal tow path with another person walking alongside him, when they decided to turn around.

The Scotch Plains man attempted to do a “K-turn” on the path and pushed what he thought was the “reverse” button, police said. It was not, and the man and his scooter lunged forward, down the embankment and into the canal about three-quarters of a mile south of the Blackwells Mills Causeway, police said.

When Franklin Township Police Officer Alex Sodbinow, Franklin Township Office of Fire Prevention’s Deputy Director Andrew Berardo and Fire Inspector Peter Haver arrived on the scene after the 11:30 a.m. 9-1-1 call, they found the man clinging to a tree branch in chest-deep water, police said.

With the help of the man walking with the victim, police said, a flotation device was secured on the man, and he was hoisted out of the water with a rescue rope.

Both men were evaluated by EMS personnel and refused medical assistance, police said. The man was in teh water for about 20 minutes before being rescued, police said.



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