Ex-Merrimack man drowns after hovercraft capsizes
A former Merrimack man drowned after his hovercraft overturned on Lake Winnipesaukee on Saturday afternoon, the state Marine Patrol said.
Chet Juszczak, 62, who had a home in Merrimack but lived year round on Cow Island, was pronounced dead at Lakes Regional General Hospital in Laconia after efforts to revive him at the scene failed.
The Marine Patrol, which is still investigating, hasn’t determined what caused the accident, Sgt. Dave Ouellette said Monday.
Juszczak was heading to Cow Island, carrying supplies on his single-engine, single-person Scat hovercraft, when it overturned about 90 feet from shore, Ouellette said. It isn’t clear whether the craft flipped before or after Juszczak went overboard, however.
A Moultonborough couple were out doing yardwork and heard cries for help, Ouellette said. They called 911 and rushed down to Harilla Landing, where the man tied a rope around himself and waded out while his wife held the rope. The man was able to pull Juszczak to shore, but police and rescuers were unable to resuscitate him.
Juszczak was retired and came from Chicago, said a neighbor and friend, Dr. Dick Hopgood, a dentist in Andover, Mass. Juszczak formerly owned a computer company but had sold it, Hopgood said.
Juszczak was active in Cow Island’s Idlewood Association, and had lived on the island all year and the year before, Hopgood said. Juszczak only bought the hovercraft in the past year, Hopgood said.
“He was a very private person,” but also sociable, Hopgood said. “He was a real nice guy. … When we were out there, he was the third member of our family.”
Juszczak was well-liked on the island and got along with other residents, Hopgood said.
Andrew Wolfe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.