CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Norman Hall streaked across Lake Winnisquam in his kayak Wednesday in a life-and-death race to help a man struggling in the chilly water. He almost made it, but the man went under before he could get close enough to help.

“I paddled as quick as I could,” Hall said. “You don’t know how bad it feels. I feel so bad for his family.”

Fish and Game divers found the body of Kainen Flynn, 25, of Gilford, around 3 p.m. Thursday. Flynn was a Gilford police officer.

The victim was not wearing a life jacket, Fish and Game Lt. Robert Bryant said, though there was one in his boat. Bryant said with the water temperature at 58 degrees, Flynn’s energy would have been sapped fairly quickly.

He said the life jacket could have made the difference.

Flynn was found in about 40 feet of water, about 380 yards from shore, Bryant said.

He was to have been married next month.

In a telephone interview, Hall said he, friend Rachel Gates, and Gates’ mother, Laurie, were on shore Wednesday afternoon, when he heard the sound of a boat motor, first loud, then soft, then loud again. He looked out and saw a boat running in circles.

“Then to the right of that, I saw the guy in the water,” he said Thursday.

While Laurie Gates ran to call 911, Hall and Rachel Gates grabbed kayaks and began paddling toward Flynn, who was struggling several hundred yards away.

“He knew we were coming, too,” said Hall, 45. “He had already taken his sneakers off. He was a long way away.”

Hall said when he was about 50 feet away, Flynn disappeared.

“We just couldn’t get to him,” a dejected Hall said. “It was close. I was doing the best I could. I couldn’t go anymore.”

As they paddled out, Hall said Rachel Gates called to a neighbor who had a motorboat.

“She got over there, but it was already too late,” he said.

Hall watched the search in front of his house on Thursday, feeling awful he had not been able to reach Flynn.

Bryant said Flynn apparently fell from his 12-foot boat while fishing around 1:40 p.m. Wednesday, though no one saw exactly what happened.

The victim was a former Marine Patrol officer and had been with the Gilford police for a year and a half.

Fish and Game and the Marine Patrol were joined by searchers from Meredith Police and Fire Departments and the State Police.

AP-ES-06-05-03 1910EDT

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