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3 RESCUED AFTER BOAT SINKS IN RIVER

Things did not go well for three men out fishing Saturday.

On the other hand, they could have been a whole lot worse.

The three were plucked from the Niagara River just after their 14-foot boat filled with water and sank shortly before noon.

Luckily, other boats were nearby, including one from the Sheriff's Department Marine Division, to rescue them. And they even got the boat back.

Terry Belke, 40, and James Braun, 46, both of Buffalo, and Michael Pijanowski, 38, of Williamsville were rescued.

They were fishing but anchored the boat from the stern, which forced the stern down and caused it to fill with water and sink, according to Sgt. Mark Donahue.

"That's why you always anchor a boat from the bow," Donahue said. "We suggested he take a safe-boating course."

Belke said he and Pijanowski have only owned the boat a couple of months.

"It was a stupid move," he said of the way it was anchored. "We learned a hard lesson, but fortunately everything worked out."

They were lucky not only to be rescued quickly but that other boats in the area included one containing a diver from the Hamburg Police Department and a Coast Guard vessel.

The diver was able to cut the anchor line, and the Coast Guard was able to tow the fiberglass boat to shore, Donahue said.

The other boats were taking part in the Great Lakes Beach Sweep cleanup effort.

Donahue and Deputy Kevin Mahoney rescued Belke and Pijanowski, and another fisherman rescued Braun. None was injured, they said.

They were fishing in Canadian water near the International Railroad Bridge when the boat sank. The sheriff's boat was just across the river at the time.

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