Tugboat operator saves woman from drowning in Seneca Falls

A quick-thinking tugboat operator in town for Canal Fest helped save the life of a town resident who found herself in peril after jumping into the Cayuga-Seneca Canal Sunday night to retrieve her phone.

Bill Ford, who lives in Wayland, Steuben County, was docked in Seneca Falls with the restored Ronald J. Dahlke, the oldest-working tugboat in New York state.

Ford was getting ready to head into Lt. Cyrus Garnsey III VFW Post 1323 via the lodge’s canalside entrance when he heard a woman crying for help about 6:45 p.m. The woman was struggling to cling to the south wall of the canal near the Ovid Street bridge, Ford said Monday as he prepared to pull the tug out of Seneca Falls and back to its home port at Beacon Bay Marina on the east side of Cayuga Lake.

“I was across the canal,” he said. “It was just fortunate that I even heard it.

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