Man Dies After Boating Accident

BEMUS POINT – Poor weather conditions are being cited as the culprit in the death of a Pennsylvania man following a boating accident in Bemus Point on Friday.

According to Captain Eric Balon, Troop A Zone III Commander of the New York State Police barracks in Jamestown, a boat carrying two Pennsylvania men – Robert Knell and Roy Barclay – capsized as a result of high winds and choppy water on Chautauqua Lake.

“The two gentlemen were fishing on a 12- or 14-foot open-bow boat design, and were tied off to one of those yellow barriers underneath the I-86 overpass,” Balon said. “The water turned bad, the boat got turned around and they were kind of pointed into the waves. Water was hitting the stern, and splashed into the boat. They couldn’t get it stabilized, and they capsized.”

Balon said Knell and Barclay, both of whom were wearing life jackets, fell into the water and were holding onto the boat for support. At some point, Knell let go – possibly from exhaustion – and Barclay worked to keep them both afloat. Knell and Barclay were noticed by two other men on shore, who immediately rushed to their aid, pulled them aboard their own boat and brought them back to land.

“When they were brought to shore, Mr. Knell was unresponsive,” Balon said. “Bemus Point and Maple Grove rescue were there, and they performed CPR on him before transporting him to WCA.”

Knell, 66, of Duke Center, Pa., died Saturday morning as a result of complications he experienced from nearly drowning. Barclay, 65, was also treated for exposure to the elements.

Balon said no criminal charges are being filed, as the incident appeared solely the result of inclement weather.

“There didn’t appear to be any negligence; both men were wearing their life jackets, and everybody did everything they could,” Balon said. “It was weather-related, and a very unfortunate accident.”