Mass. kayaker died trying to save his best friend, family says

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A Massachusetts man died trying to save his best friend during a kayaking trip, according to the family.

Police in the Rhode Island city were notified Friday morning that Gregory Boerman, 37, of Allston, and Joseph Fritz, 52, of East Providence, had failed to return home the previous day after a kayaking trip on Omega Pond just off Roger Williams Avenue. Police and firefighters began a search of the shoreline and located two empty kayaks, East Providence Police said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Using drone technology, investigators found a body just below the surface of the water near one of the empty kayaks. A second body was found “a short time later,” according to the statement.

In a GoFundme post, Tracey Boerman-Denneen, Boerman’s sister, said he died trying to save Fritz.

“He died trying to save his best friend, which was so like Greg, always the first to show up, always the first to help, and would put his own life on the line for anyone whether he knew them or not. That’s the man he was,” she wrote.

The GoFundMe aimed to raise $10,000 to help cover “costs and expenses during this terribly tragic time.” As of Wednesday morning, it had raised more than $20,000.

“We are all having such a hard time with the immense loss and trying to find ways to pay for everything has added more stress and it’s very hard to navigate through it all. Any and all donations will be so appreciated and my family and I will be forever grateful for your support,” she wrote. “Help us put Gregory, the best man I’ve ever known, my brother and best friend to rest.”

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