Death by drowning came to a 43-year-old man at about 7:25 p.m. Monday [September 10, 1962] when he fell overboard into Cayuga Lake from his 12-foot runabout about 14 miles north of his home at 1020 East Shore Drive.
Leland Catlin, according to Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputy Byron Van Zile, had attempted to start his 10-horsepower outboard motor when his feet slipped out from under him and he fell into the water.
The accident occurred about 40 feet offshore near Cottage 26 on the Lansing Station Rd., Van Zile said.
According to the deputy, Mr. Catlin and his wife, Edith, started for their outing shortly after 5 p.m.
Mrs. Catlin told the deputy her husband had been having trouble keeping the motor operating and it had stopped before the accident.
She said when they reached the point where the mishap occurred, the motor stopped again and Mr. Catlin went to the rear of the boat to try to start it.
Van Zile reported Mr. Catlin pulled on the rope, his feet slipped and he went overboard. At the same time the engine started up and the boat started to move away from him.
While Mr. Catlin, who was unable to swim very well, tried to stay afloat, Mrs. Catlin moved to the rear of the boat and while attempting to shut the motor off broke the tiller stick.
When the engine was shut off, Mrs. Catlin attempted to save her husband by reaching for him with an oar.
After this proved unsuccessful, she paddled the boat the 40 feet to shore to summon aid.
Her calls drew the attention of Karl M. Dallenbach, a retired Cornell University professor, who dove into the lake to attempt a rescue.
Van Zile said when Dallenbach reached Mr. Catlin he was already unconscious. Dallenbach started to return to shore, but the effort tired the man, Van Zile said and Roy Moore of Ludlowville came to Dallenbach’s assistance and completed bringing the man to shore.
Members of the Lansing Fire Department ambulance attempted to revive Mr. Catlin with a resuscitator. They removed him to the Tompkins County Hospital while giving mouth-to-mouth respiration to no avail.
Tompkins County Coroner Ralph Low of Trumansburg issued a certificate of death by drowning. Van Zile said there would be no autopsy performed.
Mr. Catlin’s body was released to the Wagner Funeral Home where arrangements for funeral services are to be made.