DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WIVB) - It is an incredibly story of survival and sheer willpower. An Angola man treaded water for around two hours after falling overboard into Lake Erie.
Daniel Ruggiero is resting in a hospital after his two-hour ordeal in Lake Erie, made even more remarkable because he was not wearing any kind of a flotation device. It'd be a tough job for almost anybody, but the 56-year-old Ruggiero had heart bypass surgery just a few years ago.
Ruggiero was trolling for fish in Lake Erie, about three miles offshore from Dunkirk, when his fishing pole dropped into the water. As he tried to retrieve it, he fell overboard himself. The 56-year-old fisherman tread water and swam for nearly two hours without a life jacket heading for shore. Cramps were starting to set in.
Ruggiero said, "They said I was still a mile from shore when they got me out. Luckily they did because I was starting to get the muscle cramps and whatever. I don't know if I would have made it, but I was determined."
Ruggiero's boat beached itself on the shores of the town of Portland, and a passerby contacted the Coast Guard, who called the Chautauqua County Sheriff's marine unit.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace said, "There was no one in the vessel, but the vessel was still running and was under power. So it was obvious that something was wrong."
Sheriff's deputies then pulled Ruggiero out of the water, and brought him to shore. After surviving his ordeal in Lake Erie, Ruggiero was taken by ambulance to Westfield Hospital. But due to his heart condition, he was transferred to Buffalo General. Dan Ruggiero said his job as a beer delivery driver and his strong will, as well as divine intervention, is what kept him alive.
"Pretty much just determination that I was not going to drown. I've seen people drown and it's not a nice way to go," said Ruggiero.
Ruggiero's fiancée, Michey Mancuso, said he is also an avid outdoorsman and there was a punching bag with gloves hanging in his garage.
Mancuso said, "He hits that around every so often. He hunts, fishes."
Daniel Ruggiero was a competitive swimmer, many years ago, which also might have kept him alive. He also said he usually goes fishing with his buddies, but this time he was on vacation, and they were working, and the tempting blue waters of Lake Erie were too much to pass up.
Reverend Roy Harriger returned to court Wednesday night. The pastor is facing charges of molesting children.
Some of the members of his assembly refuse to believe the allegations against him. About eight members of the Community Fellowship …
In an effort to combat childhood obesity, a local school district is now banning a popular sweet treat.
Twenty-two-year-old Yaron Bernstein was last seen leaving a friend's apartment in Philadelphia three weeks ago. Bernstein has ties in Buffalo as well as Pittsburgh, Miami and New Jersey.
A sex offender has been arrested after he allegedly showed indecent material to a child under the age of 16.
Buffalo firefighters were called in to action to fight a fire in the 300 block of Goodyear Avenue in the city shortly after 3 in the morning Thursday.
Common Core, a new wave of educational standards now being implemented across the country, is causing controversy across the nation, and took center stage in Jamestown Wednesday evening.