Man drowned in boating accident on Lake Ontario

OLCOTT, N.Y. (WIVB) – An autopsy has determined a man from Erie County drowned after apparently falling out of his sailboat on Lake Ontario Tuesday afternoon.

Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies and the Olcott Volunteer Fire Company responded to 911 calls from people onshore who noticed 49-year-old Christian D. Gothgen, of Snyder, appeared to be in distress around 4:00 p.m.

Gothgen was wearing a life vest at the time, according to the sheriff’s office.

Firefighters quickly found him about 50 yards offshore, said Sgt. Aaron Schultz of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. Unable to reach him with their own boat, they went into the water the rescue him.

An unusual northeast wind and changing currents in Lake Ontario may have contributed to the boater’s difficulties.

“There’s a severe northeast wind today. The lake is very choppy. He’s on a small sailboat, and it appears that he ran into some trouble,” said Sgt. Schultz.

Gothhen was taken to Eastern Niagara Hospital Hospital-Newfane, where he died.

An autopsy revealed he drowned. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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