15-year-old Julia Lavery watched a storm move in over Sandy Pond from her family's camp in northern Oswego County on Sunday afternoon. As she looked out over the water, she thought she saw something strange about a half mile out - a capsized boat.
"We had to go out and look through binoculars and make sure it really was a boat before we went out there," said Julia Lavery.
A look though the binoculars confirmed that there were two boats close together and one was upside down. Julia's father and 14-year-old sister Michele went out on a jet ski to see if they could help. When they arrived, they found a grandfather, his 13-year-old grandson and 7-year-old granddaughter in the upright boat. The two children had been in the capsized boat when it flipped.
"They said the waves weren't that big at first and then a big wave came and shot them in the air - they were airborne. It was really bad," said Michelle Lavery.
The capsized boat had been being towed by the other boat. Everyone was wearing a lifejacket, but Michele could see the 7-year-old girl was frightened and cold from her time in the water.
"I knew she had to be scared to death and I could tell she was shivering from the jet ski and she was still on the boat," said Michele Lavery. "So I just wanted to get her to shore and I asked Dad if we could take her in. When we got there, she said 'I just want to go home" so I said, 'Dad we have to take her back in'."
The Laverys brought everyone back to shore, and got the young girl dry clothes and hot chocolate. By using their pontoon boat, the Laverys were able to bring the grandfather, the children and the boats back to the other side of Sandy Pond. Everything happened so quickly, the Laverys never learned the grandfather's name but they were glad they could all work together to help.
"The whole team that we had - we were all just so happy we were able to do something. They were all safe and their family was happy," said Julia Lavery.
Julia and Michelle Lavery recently finished a boating safety course. Both girls said Sunday's rescue is a great reminder of why it is so important to wear a lifejacket at all times when boating.