Lt. Kevin Jordan: (603) 271-3361 or (603) 271-3127
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
July 29, 2008
Merrimack River Search Ends after "Missing" Swimmer Found Safe;
Officials Urge Caution in Swimming, Canoeing or Kayaking Rain-swollen Rivers
CONCORD, N.H. -- After a three-day search involving the Concord Fire and Police Departments, the New Hampshire State Police helicopter and New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers using their airboat and walking the shoreline, a swimmer reported missing on Sunday, July 27, 2008, has turned up safe and sound in Concord.
At 11:30 a.m. today, June 29, 2008, Fisherville Road resident Don Taylor of Concord, N.H., called the Concord Fire Department after hearing about the search efforts underway along the Merrimack River for a suspected drowning victim. He reported that he had been swimming at Sewalls Falls on Sunday, July 27, 2008, at the time that the 911 call was placed by an eyewitness who had seen a swimmer appearing to be in trouble in the rapids of the Merrimack River.
Taylor indicated that he had been swimming in the rapids, which are Class 2 in places, but was not in trouble as the witness had described to the 911 operator. Not realizing that rescue personnel had been notified and were en route, Taylor got out of the water downstream and returned to his residence. He learned of the search effort today and immediately called authorities to provide this information.
"While in this case the swimmer was not harmed, people should not be swimming in New Hampshire rivers until they return to more normal water levels," said Lt. Kevin Jordan of Fish and Game, noting that a young man drowned and was swept three miles downstream last week while swimming in the Pemigewasset. "New Hampshire rivers are running at high levels and full strength as a result of recent storm events, and it is very easy to underestimate the strength of the current while standing on the shoreline."
Jordan stressed that those who do venture out onto waterways should use personal flotation devices. "Swimming, kayaking or canoeing on our rivers can be extremely dangerous under these conditions," Jordan said. "I would expect that in two to three days, without additional rain, the rivers would be considerably lower."
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