Brookline rower dies after falling into Charles River

A 68-year-old man from Brookline died after he fell into the Charles River while rowing Thursday afternoon, according to State Police.

He was not immediately identified.

Patrick Lapage, an assistant rowing coach at Harvard, was standing on the dock at the Newell Boat House in Allston when he saw the man fall in.

“He was sculling by and then collapsed while he was rowing, which caused the boat to capsize,” Lapage said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “I realized he wasn’t moving anymore, so I swam out to get him.”

Lapage dove into the river and swam about 50 feet to reach the man, he said. The man was submerged beneath the boat with his shoes still fastened to the footplates inside, Lapage said.


Lapage managed to free the man from the boat just as another boat reached them and helped bring the man back to the dock. Once he was out of the water, Lapage said he began doing CPR on the man but he was not responsive.

State troopers responded to calls reporting the incident at 2:44 p.m., according to David Procopio, a State Police spokesman.

The man was taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Lapage said he was the only person on the dock when he saw the man go under. Just last week, Lapage and other coaches attended a CPR certification course at Harvard.

“I had everything (from that class) in the front of my mind,” he said. “It’s just sad he didn’t pull through.”

Lepage did not know the man, but he described him as “an athletic guy and pretty well built.”

An investigation into the man’s death is ongoing by State Police and the Suffolk district attorney’s office.