Drowning Confirmed in Middlesex, Dangers of Strong Currents

By Staci DaSilva | sdasilva@nexstar.tv

Published 06/11 2014 06:18PM

Updated 06/11 2014 06:25PM


We know now how a Montpelier man died Sunday after swimming at Wrightsville Dam in Middlesex.

Vermont State Police say Jason Reed accidentally drowned after getting caught in a current.

“Unfortunately we do have deaths related to current and rivers and streams,” said Lt. Jim Whitcomb with the Vermont State Police. “They're unfortunate and we do ask people just to be aware."

Rivers, streams and gorges, like the notorious Huntington Gorge in Richmond, are not consistent bodies of water. They change with the weather.

“Something that's really shallow and slow moving one day, after half a rainstorm can be a quite different experience the next day,” said Lt. Whitcomb.

This weekend is a prime example of how unstable these waters can be. Heavy rains are expected over the next 2 days. Waters could be treacherous by Saturday.

Shellie Fernald is a frequent visitor to Vermont gorges but she opts for collecting rocks and fishing over swimming.

“I've seen people jump and come up with smashed heads and cut feet and it's just not realistic for me,” said Shellie Fernald. “It looks calm right now, like you just want to go in but you don't know if it's rained on the other side of the mountain and the water's going to come. I just wouldn't take the chance."

Colchester Technical Rescue responds to 50 calls a year and most of its water rescues are from rivers or strong currents.

Team leader Michael Cannon urges people to keep track of the weather. Visiting during a dry spell is best.

“We always recommend talking to some of the people who live close to these areas to find out whether or not this is a normal activity, if the water is running high or some of the danger areas. There are safe areas to swim in some of these areas,” said Michael Cannon.

First responders also remind you to never swim alone and always have a way to call for help if you need it.

Drowning is the second leading cause for children up to 14 years old. Never let kids go near water without adult supervision.



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