The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

January 2, 2014

Three die in separate area drownings

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Three local residents drowned in two incidents in Delaware County this week, according to state police who warned about dangers of weakened ice on ponds and lakes after warmer temperatures.

Marvin Taub, 74, of Oneonta, who had gone for a walk Monday with two small dogs, died at Pine Lake in Davenport, according to state police at Oneonta.

Separately, Ira Landess, 74, and his wife, Nancy Klinger-Landess, 71, died after apparently trying to rescue their dog who fell through ice on a pond behind their Harpersfield town home on Tuesday, troopers said.

Though weather officials forecast a storm starting Wednesday night, some warmer temperatures have brought rain and melted snowpack in recent weeks.

Taub, of 2 Irving Place, drowned at Hartwick College’s Pine Lake Environmental Campus, troopers said. The campus has a lake and trails.

Hal Legg, spokesman for the State University College at Oneonta, said Wednesday he couldn’t confirm the status of Taub, who was listed on the college’s website for emeriti faculty and professional staff.

Taub had been walking two dogs belonging to a friend Monday, Lt. Carolyn Mullin of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Sidney, said, and when he didn’t return, a search was initiated at about 11 p.m. Monday.

Searchers included troopers, fire and emergency personnel, Hartwick College security personnel, and state police divers, Mullin said, and boats and rescue equipment were used. Tracks were found leading to the lake, she said.

Taub had fallen through the ice on the lake and his body was recovered at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, Mullin said. She said Delaware County coroner James Cooros determined the cause of Taub’s death to be drowning and hypothermia.

Mullin said the dogs were located by Taub’s car in the parking lot.

Zanna McKay of Oneonta said Taub was a friend who regularly took her dogs, a pug name Tootsie, and a Phu Quoc Ridgeback named Thuye, for walks.

“He had a favorite hike that he took, stopping to enjoy the meadow, the river, the woods and the lake,” McKay said. Taub had picked up the dogs at about 3 p.m. Monday, she said, and when she returned to her Oneonta home from dinner with friends, Taub hadn’t dropped off the dogs, and she called authorities.

“I was very worried,” McKay, a SUNY Oneonta professor in the education department, said. “He was a gracious and gentle man and his presence will be greatly missed.”

In the town of Harpersfield on Tuesday, Mullin said, an acquaintance of the Landess couple had stopped by their home at 290 Quaker Hill at about 3 p.m. to give them a ride but couldn’t locate them.

Troopers initiated a search, Mullin said, state police dive team members recovered Landess’s body at about 11:30 p.m.

The search was called off at about 2 a.m. Wednesday for the team to rest and replenish oxygen, and after resuming efforts at about 10 a.m., the body of the dog was recovered, Mullin said, and the wife’s body was recovered at about 1 p.m. Wednesday.