Maj. Tim Acerno: (603) 271-3129
Capt. Martin Garabedian: (603) 271-3361
Sgt. Dave Eskeland: (603) 271-3361
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
August 5, 2008                   

Swift River Drowning Victim Recovered;
Merrimack River Swimmer Survives in Manchester

CONCORD, N.H. -- About 11 a.m. today (August 5, 2008), searchers were able to recover the body of David Hildebrandt, age 29, of Dorchester, Mass., who drowned in the Swift River, in the town of Albany, N.H.  Hildebrandt had been camping with friends in New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest when he slipped and fell into the Swift River near the Lower Falls and was swept away by high water on Sunday, August 3, 2008. After a three-day search, a New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officer and a U.S. Forest Service staffer searching the shoreline located Hildebrandt's body approximately 1.5 miles downstream, lodged in front of a boulder in the middle of the river.  The officers were able to locate Hildebrant's body because the water level in the river had dropped more than three feet since Sunday. It was recovered without incident.

Another search mission in Manchester further highlighted the treacherous conditions on rivers and streams in New Hampshire caused by ongoing rainy weather. N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers were called at about 11 a.m. this morning (August 5, 2008) to respond to a request for assistance from the City of Manchester regarding a report of a person swimming across the Merrimack River downtown.  

Just before 12:30 p.m., the swimmer, identified as Chris Nydin, a homeless man from Manchester, came out of the river on the other side.  He refused medical treatment, but seemed to be physically okay.  He reportedly had jumped into the river and began swimming after a dispute with his girlfriend.

"Nydin was lucky," said Maj. Tim Acerno, Acting Chief of N.H. Fish and Game Law Enforcement. "This incident could have ended very differently due to the dangerous river conditions.  The current in the Merrimack in that area is very strong and fast, and the rocky riverbed makes it even more hazardous. We're glad this incident had a fortunate outcome, but we can't stress enough the need for people to be aware of the dangerous conditions in New Hampshire's rivers right now."

Fish and Game is urging everyone to use extreme caution around streams and rivers throughout the state until water levels return to normal. "Three people have drowned in New Hampshire rivers in the past week," Acerno said. "We understand that it's tempting to seek out the waterways to cool off from the summer heat, but we strongly advise everyone to use the greatest caution possible around rivers and streams - the current and water levels are much stronger and faster than they usually would be at this time of year.  They are at flood-stage level stream flows in some parts of the state. People need to be smart and stay away from them for now.  If you want to go swimming, please go to a designated beach."

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