• Officials: Even false alarm water searches are still worth the effort & resources

    By: Manoella Macedo


    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The search for a possible missing swimmer was called off for the second time in a row just this week - at two different ponds.

    On Wednesday, emergency responders were called to Bare Hill Pond in Harvard after two lifeguards reported seeing a man swimming but never saw him return.

    "They were witnessing a gentleman doing laps in the water and at some point they realized they saw him going out and never saw him come back, there’s anywhere from a two to four-minute window that that happened," said Harvard Fire Chief Rick Sicard.

    Crews swept the waters, beaches and cars using dive teams and sonar technology to make sure no one was still in the water.

    After three hours of searching the waters, rescue teams called off the search. 

    Chief Sicard says the swimmer must have come back to shore without anyone noticing.

    "The water’s about 8-10 feet deep, the weeds are almost 6 feet high in there, visibility is almost zero in there so all the searching is basically by hand," said Lunenberg Fire Chief Patrick Sullivan.

    This fire chief said the scene was cleared and that it was just a false alarm.

    A similar situation happened in Canton just the day before.

    Emergency responders from several towns assisted in searching for a possible missing swimmer, but after hours of looking through the waters and nearby areas, no one turned up.

    "This is what we do this is our job, so we take everyone’s life seriously and will exhaust all possibilities to make sure that no one is in the water," said Chief Sicard.

    While frustrating, officials say it's better to have them respond and be overly cautious than a situation where someone is actually missing and the outcome of the search turns out grim.

    Chief Sullivan says that even though a lot of resources went into these water searches that turned out to be no emergency at all, it was worth the precaution.

    "We’d rather have somebody call and it be nothing than not call and lose somebody unfortunately," said Chief Sullivan.

    The chief took this as an opportunity to remind swimmers to always be vigilant and to make sure you're accounted for whenever going into the water. Let someone know if you're going swimming and alert them once you get out of the water.

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