Lt. Todd Bogardus: 603-271-3361
Col. Martin Garabedian: 603-271-3128         
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
August 19, 2009               

UPDATE August 21, 2009: BODY OF DROWNING VICTIM RECOVERED -- Fish and Game Conservation Officers, in conjunction with N.H. Marine Patrol, were able to retrieve the body of drowning victim Dennis Bistany, age 43, of Lawrence, Mass., about 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 20, 2009. Bistany's body had been submerged in approximately 135-foot-deep water in Newfound Lake in Bristol, N.H.

Name of Newfound Lake Drowning Victim Released; Recovery Effort Continues

CONCORD, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department today released the name of the man who is presumed drowned in a swimming incident while boating in Newfound Lake yesterday (August 18, 2009).

Dennis Bistany, age 43, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, was boating with family members and friends yesterday in the deepest part of Newfound Lake in the town of Bristol, N.H. They were in the middle of the lake, about a half-mile north of Belle Island, which is just north of Wellington State Park.  The group was floating and swimming in the lake, when  Bistany jumped in to come to the aid one of the swimmers in the group who seemed to be in distress.  As he did so, the boat drifted away, pushed by the wind.  Bistany was unable to get back to the boat, although the person he jumped in to help did make it back to the boat safely.  The other people on the boat threw Bistany a rope, but he could not reach it and disappeared under the water.

The call for help came in to emergency responders shortly after 1:30 p.m. yesterday.  An extensive search commenced involving multiple agencies, including Fish and Game Conservation Officers and rescue, fire and police personnel from Bristol and surrounding communities.  Bistany was lost in water depths of 140-165 feet, which is posing multiple challenges to the recovery effort.  Searchers were assisted by the DHART helicopter, a N.H. State Police helicopter, sidescan sonar equipment from the Laconia Fire Department and N.H. Marine Patrol.  The N.H. Fish and Game Dive Team's underwater camera was also used.  Recovery efforts had yielded no results by the time the search concluded yesterday at 8 p.m.

The recovery effort resumed this morning (Wednesday, August 19, 2009).  Fish and Game Conservation Officers, N.H. Marine Patrol, and New England K-9 Search and Rescue air-scenting dogs were on the scene.  The dogs are carried in boats, seeking any scent from the victim that may be present on the water that could help pinpoint the victim's location.  In addition, officers are using grappling devices to drag the lake bottom.  Because of the water depth, the team is unable to use SCUBA divers. 

Fish and Game will decide at the end of today what course of action will be taken regarding continuation of the recovery effort if it is not successful today.  

"This sad situation is a reminder that we recommend that anyone recreating on the water should wear a personal flotation device -- or have one readily available in an emergency situation -- even if they consider themselves a strong swimmer," said Lt. Todd Bogardus of Fish and Game Law Enforcement.

No further information is available.  Updates will be posted at

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