Body of man recovered following search in icy Wareham reservoir

WAREHAM, Mass. — Crews in Wareham have recovered the body of a man who died after becoming trapped beneath ice at a reservoir in the town, local police announced Monday. Officials conducted an ice rescue and subsequent recovery Sunday night after that man went missing Sunday evening.

Officials said that the man did not fall through the ice; instead, he willingly entered the water to go for a swim.

“Just to be clear, he willingly entered the water; he was going for a swim,” said John Gerard of Wareham Police. “That’s how this incident began, he was going swimming essentially.”

“He was very well known to be swimming out there, and this was kind of something that he did on a normal basis,” added Wareham Assistant Fire Chief John Kelly.

That victim’s name has not been released but his next-of-kin have been notified, officials said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

The incident began Sunday around 4:30 p.m. when someone called 911 saying they saw a man fall through the ice on a reservoir off County Road in Wareham near a cranberry bog. Emergency crews from surrounding towns, including Marshfield and Duxbury, assisted the Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team with the rescue and recovery effort.

“This was a witnessed event, there were several people with him at the time he entered the water,” Assistant Chief Kelly said.

State Police and the Mass. Environmental Police also assisted in the search and recovery missions.

“Basically [the victim] just went from corner to the other corner and he would cut two holes in the ice,” Gerard said.

“I guess it’s pretty murky water [...] probably can’t see that good.”

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Nancy Andrews, who lives next to the cranberry bog where the investigation was active on Sunday, said people often skate on the cranberry bog since it’s shallow and frozen; but the reservoir is about 20 feet deep. She said on Sunday that crews were searching that reservoir next to the bog for hours.

“You never skate on the reservoir because that’s never really frozen. It’s like any other pond, if you’re not going to have a lot of cold weather continuously it’s just never going to be safe,” Andrews said. “It’s very upsetting, I’ve been shaking all day, all afternoon, so it’s just very sad.”

Firefighters said that the deep water made the search difficult, saying that the water is murky with stumps, trees and other hazards to get around, plus the ice.

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