Ponstein fell into the water where he was immediately assisted by his girlfriend, who was the spotter on the Jet Ski, and by a woman from another nearby boat.
James Ponstein of Spring Lake said they were having a family gathering at his home on the bayou when he took his brother out skiing.
“He did it (barefoot skiing) earlier today,” James said.
James said they were in the middle of the bayou at the time of the accident. He was able to yell to his wife, Judy, to call for help. Judy, a nurse, then came out by Jet Ski to help. The woman from the boat was also a nurse. The two women supported Richard in the water so he couldn’t move, then floated him closer to shore where they were met by first responders from the Spring Lake Township Fire Department.
Richard was put on a backboard, then hoisted onto a dock at a home on the southeast side of the bayou. Emergency personnel carried him up a hill to a stretcher.
He was taken by North Ottawa Community Hospital ambulance to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Officials said he had regained movement in his fingers and toes.