BEMUS POINT – Recovery operations are continuing for a swimmer that first went missing on Chautauqua Lake Sunday afternoon.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone tells WNYNewsNow the male swimmer was pulled under the water as a storm moved into the area.
“A family had been swimming, three kids, boyfriend-girlfriend we’re in the water when the storm came in, as they tried to get in the boat the male subject was unable to get back to the boat, he had been in the boat and then went back out to help one of the other swimmers to get into the boat and then ran into a struggles in the water.”
Quattrone says an adult female on the boat threw a lifejacket to the man, however, he was unable to reach it. Moments later the Sheriff says the woman lost sight of the man because of crashing waves caused by the storm.
The Sheriff says several agencies were dispatched to the area between Long View and Stow looking for the swimmer. The search was suspended Sunday night due to deteriorating weather conditions.
Early Monday morning first responders set up to continue searching for the swimmer’s remains.
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel was part of the initial search on Sunday and knew the missing man personally. He says like many other first responders he must follow through in the search effort.
“It’s devastating, you think you went out for a day of boating on the lake and it ended the way it did, it’s just tragic,” said Wendel. “I did know the individual, his son played football with my son, so I knew who the person was, and I think that’s even more difficult.”
Wendel reminds everyone on the lake to use caution and always make sure to wear their lifejackets.