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Kennedy tries water rescue

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has been dogged by criticism since a 1969 car accident in which his passenger drowned, tried to come to the aid of six men trapped by high tide on a jetty off Hyannisport, Mass., yesterday, though he eventually left the rescue to Hyannis firefighters.

The Cape Cod Times reports the Massachusetts Democrat was walking his two Portuguese waterdogs on the shore at about 11:15 a.m. when he spotted the men cut off from the shore by rising waters.

Hyannis Fire Capt. Craig Farrenkopf told the paper Kennedy and a friend tried to retrieve the men in a 13-foot Whaler before they were forced back by rough waters.

Shortly after the attempt, a crew from the fire department was able to pick up the men in their 20s in three trips and bring them back to shore. They were transported to Cape Cod Hospital with mild hypothermia.

The six had been fishing at the end of the jetty, where uneven rocks make walking difficult when tides rise. The Times reports heavy winds topped 35 miles per hour, making harbor waters choppy.

Farrenkopf said Sen. Kennedy waited on shore as the rescues took place.

Mary Jo Kopechne

In 1969, Kennedy was driving a car that went off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. His passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned after the car landed upside down in the water.

At the time, Kennedy claimed he tried several times to swim down to reach Kopechne to no avail. He came under fire for not immediately reporting the incident to authorities.

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