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Kayak incident off of Tinkers

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"Published: October 13, 2007 07:13 pm print this story email this story

Kayaker drowns off Marblehead Neck

Bruno Matarazzo Jr.

MARBLEHEAD — A 31-year-old Peabody man drowned while kayaking near Tinkers Island off Marblehead Neck Saturday, police said.

Robert Cunningham was pronounced dead at Salem Hospital, after harbormasters from Marblehead, Beverly and Salem responded to a call of a kayaker in distress shortly after noon, police Lt. Dave Millet said. People on a private boat found Cunningham in the water and had already pulled him aboard when the rescue crews arrived, said Frank MacIver, Marblehead's assistant harbormaster.

The crews pulled Cunningham onto the Marblehead harbormaster's boat, and Beverly assistant harbormaster Brett Marciano performed CPR along with Marblehead assistant harbormaster Jeff Flynn, MacIver said.

The rescue crew brought the victim to the State Street Landing, on the way performing CPR and using defibrillators to try to revive him.

Millet said Cunningham, who was strapped into the kayak but was not wearing a life jacket, frequently kayaked to go fishing.

"There is a belief he suffered a seizure, which caused him to flip and subsequently drown," Millet said.

He added Cunningham, who was alone on the water, had a medical condition that caused periodic seizures."

Tinkers Island is owned by Salem and is southeast of Marblehead Neck."

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