Franklin police, first responders save two children from capsized canoe

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FRANKLIN — A dramatic rescue unfolded late this afternoon when the Franklin Police Department received a distress call at 4:07 p.m. about a man yelling for help near the Franklin Library.

The man, identified as Michael Stewart of West Bow Street, had been canoeing with his two young children when their vessel overturned in the river, plunging the family into cold water.

Sgt. Walker of the Franklin Police Department was first on the scene and bravely entered the river to rescue the children, ages 3 and 5.

With the assistance of Officer Hart, who provided a water rescue device, both children were successfully pulled from the frigid water.

Franklin Fire Department’s Fire and EMS teams quickly responded to the emergency and took over the care of the children.

The 3-year-old, who had a life-threatening situation and required resuscitation, was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital for specialized treatment.

The 5-year-old was transported to Concord Hospital at Franklin and was reported to be conscious and responsive following the incident.

Sgt. Walker, who suffered hypothermia during the rescue, was treated and has since been released.

The collaborative rescue effort involved several agencies, including the Northfield Police Department, Tilton Police Department, NH State Police Marine Patrol, NH State Police Troop D, and NH Fish and Game, which was notified of the incident.

Authorities have charged Stewart with DUI Vessel in connection with the accident, and additional charges are pending as the investigation continues.

The condition of the child airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock remains under close observation as medical staff provides ongoing treatment.

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