MEREDITH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Chief James McIntyre reports that a veteran Stoneham Police officer helped rescue a pilot from the water after the man’s ultralight glider plane crash landed into Lake Winnipesaukee Sunday afternoon.
At approximately 3 p.m. Sunday, Stoneham Police Officer Joe Ponzo was off-duty with his family on vacation on a boat in Lake Winnipesaukie, when he observed an ultralight glider plane crash land into the lake.
Officer Ponzo called the New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol Unit and notified them of the incident and then rushed his boat over to the scene of the crash and he and other boaters worked to pull the male pilot out of the water onto his boat. The man was conscious and alert.
Officer Ponzo was met on shore by members of the Marine Patrol Unit, the Laconia Fire Department, the Meredith Fire Department and Meredith Police Department. The man was then transported by ambulance to a local hospital.
“Thankfully we were in the right place at the right time,” Officer Ponzo said. “The plane sank into the water right after the crash and the man was able to get himself out before we got there. He was in the water and a few other boaters came to help me get him into my boat.”
Chief McIntyre credited Officer Ponzo with saving the man’s life.
“Even off-duty on vacation with our families we are never truly off the job when duty calls,” Chief McIntyre said. “Officer Ponzo is a 23-year veteran of the Stoneham Police Department and he was the right person to be there when this man needed help. We credit Joe with helping to save this man’s life and springing into action when he saw someone in need.”
Any further inquiries about the incident should be referred to the New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol Unit.