The owner of the SV Sea Nymph went missing in Lake Champlain. You will hear the story of how he was found and the cause of his disappearance near his moored sailboat at Point Bay Marina, Lake Champlain near Thompson’s Point in Charlotte, Vermont. His last contact with anyone was on 11 AM on Sunday, October 21, 2018, when he texted a friend that he was rowing out to his sailboat the Sea Nymph which was moored next to Point Bay Marina, in Charlotte, VT on Lake Champlain. He was not reported missing until he missed a meeting on Wednesday, October 24, 2018.
The Vermont State Police is identifying the missing man as George Ruhe, 67, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, and Brattleboro, Vermont. Mr. Ruhe was an accomplished photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, and Sports Illustrated. His dinghy was found on October 25, 2018, on a marshy shore.
His body was found soon afterward underneath a moored sailboat. The water temperatures were between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit in late October on Lake Champlain according to weather.gov. Hypothermia in those temperatures can lead to loss of manual dexterity in 10 to 15 minutes in that cold of water. Once manual dexterity is lost drowning is very possible without the use of a life jacket.
Mr. Ruhe was last seen at the Point Bay Marina in Charlotte, Vermont, at about 11 a.m. Sunday, and indicated in a message to a friend that he was rowing at that time. A dinghy used by Mr. Ruhe to reach his sailboat, which is moored at the marina a short distance from shore, also is missing. His vehicle was found Wednesday parked at the marina. He was reported missing Wednesday afternoon after failing to appear for meetings earlier in the week.
At about 4:30 p.m., crews including the Vermont State Police Dive Team recovered a body from the vicinity of a sailboat moored in Lake Champlain at Point Bay Marina in Charlotte. The body was preliminarily identified as that of George Ruhe. The body will be brought to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to confirm identification and determine the cause and manner of death.”
“***Update 2:40 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018***
At about 2 p.m. the crew of a fixed-wing aircraft from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations unit assisting in the search located what appeared to be the missing dinghy in a swampy, shallow area in the south end of Town Farm Bay. The Vermont State Police with help from Point Bay Marina staff recovered the dinghy about 20 minutes later and brought the boat to shore.
Another publication, The Shelburne News, adds more detail, indicating he went into the water deliberately.
It was windy, and the water was a cold 50 degrees Sunday as Ruhe was out on the Lake, Lt. Garry Scott said. Police believe the dinghy was not tied to the boat, and drifted away.
“It looks like he stripped off his pants and shoes and was attempting to swim the dinghy,” Scott said. “Everything we are seeing looks like an accidental drowning.”