A 6-year-old girl found clinging to the corpse of a woman was rescued Monday from Lake Gleneida in New York by a group of people in a rowboat, police said.
The girl was taken to Putnam Hospital Center and said to be uninjured.
The woman she was with, whose cause of death is currently unknown, was identified as Pamela Kaner, 59, of Brewster, N.Y., according to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and her body was taken to the hospital, where an autopsy will be performed.
Three boaters -- two men and a woman -- who had gone out to fish on Lake Gleneida, about 55 miles outside of New York City, noticed the girl holding onto a body several hundred feet from the shore crying out for help Monday afternoon.
The child was not wearing a life vest, one of the boaters told police, so they placed a life vest on her and brought her to shore where they called Carmel police.
Stay informed with the latest headlines; sign up for our newsletter
Town police and rescue crews, which included a dive team from the Mahopac Fire Department and volunteer ambulance and firefighters, arrived to the lake at about 5 p.m. after receiving a 911 call, Carmel Police Sgt. John Dearman told The Journal News.
Dearman said there was no opportunity for life-saving measures to be performed on Kaner.
The woman was an acquaintance of the 6-year-old?s mother and had been watching the girl briefly while her mother took her car to the mechanic.
Kaner and girl had apparently been wading in the shallow waters of the lake shortly before 5 p.m., but events leading up to the woman?s death and the girl's rescue were not yet certain.
?It is unknown if she had a medical event occur that caused her to drown or if they just got too far out," Dearman said. ?We don?t know. We?re going to have to wait for the autopsy.?
After rescuing the girl, police interviewed the three boaters who made the 911 call. They said they initially believed the girl was clinging to a large plastic bag and only realized it was a body after getting closer.
A woman who identified herself as the 6-year-old?s mother was also interviewed by police at the scene. She said she had become worried after several attempts to call Kaner earlier had failed.
Police cleared the scene by 7:45 p.m. Dearman said authorities believe the incident to be accidental but are considering all possibilities.
The waters of Lake Gleneida are the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and their police detectives will be conducting the follow-up investigation.
In a statement, DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said, ?We are saddened by the tragedy that occurred last night on Lake Gleneida and are working with the Camel Police to determine what happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.?