Rick Fontana

Man Dies After Being Swept Away by Rushing Water in New Haven

A man has died after being swept away by rushing water in the West River in New Haven on Sunday night.

It was an emotional night for people who gathered near the river hoping the man, who we’re told was 48 years-old, would be found safely.

An intense search was underway for hours on the West River on the New Haven and West Haven line.

"We don’t have a lot of problems here. This is one of the first calls of this magnitude in some time," said New Haven Emergency Operations Director Rick Fontana.

Authorities said a man went into the water to cool off when he was pushed under as the rushing tide came in. While he struggled, another person he was with jumped to help him.

“An individual went in to assist him, had hands on him, started to pull him under and before you know it the individual went under the water," Fontana added.

Rescuers from around the area rushed to help. Crews from New Haven and West Haven arrived, as well as divers from Guilford and Milford.

They deplored sonar radar and carefully searched the river.

After about four hours, crews discovered the man’s body not far from where he went under.

It was a sad ending and a reminder about the dangers of the water, especially in this area with its tidal currents.

“We would discourage anyone who would want to swim here. It’s not really meant for swimming," Fontana said.

At this point, the name of the man has not yet been released.

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