By MORGAN FRISCH
For the Express
TOWN OF ROOT — The body of a Gloversville man who fell into the river while fishing at Lock 13 during the morning of Aug. 1 was found pinned beneath the water near the lock, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said Joshua McSpirit, 25, was with a friend when he slipped into the water from the cement landing adjacent to the lock.
Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato said deputies were called to the scene around 4:44 a.m. and he believes McSpirit’s friend made the call. His body was recovered around 9:30 a.m. and moved to a nearby hospital.
Amato said the two were fishing on the north side of the bridge on a cement embankment that slopes down to the water. He said the friend turned around to get or do something and then heard McSpirit make a noise or sound.
“When he turned he noticed [McSpirit] going under the water and he never came back up again,” Amato said.
Through their investigation, deputies determined the pair crossed the railroad tracks in the town of Mohawk to get to the canal.
Amato said they drove down a farming road in a field and parked the vehicle. He said they were working at night and guesses they got out around midnight and went to the locks to go fishing. He said it’s something they’ve done before.
Amato said McSpirit did not know how to swim nor was he wearing a life jacket. His body was located near the same area that he fell.
“They were right at the base of the locks and the water coming over the lock there, the gate, it’s so turbulent in there and when he fell in, it sucked him in and he went down,” Amato said.
He said they believe McSpirit slipped because the cement was wet and the soles of his shoes were smooth with no grip.
The Canajoharie Fire Department rescue boat, Amsterdam Fire Department Dive Team, Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, the New York State Police Department Dive Team, Town of Mohawk Fire Department and Fulton County Sheriff’s Office were all at the scene.
Amato said when McSpirit came out of the water he did not see any abrasions on his head, as if he had hit it, but mentioned that the incident is still under investigation.
“We are still looking into it,” Amato said.
In regards to the incident and how others can remain safe, Amato advised staying away from the base of locks and fishing along the edge near the docking areas.
“If you are going to fish close to the locks, you should wear a life vest whether you can swim or not for the simple reason that once you fall into that water, that water controls you,” he said. “You can be a swimmer but you just can’t get out.”