Multi-Agency Search for Missing Fisherman in Fairhaven

 NEW YORK–A fisherman who apparently fell from the Middletown Avenue Bridge into the Quinnipiac River in Fairhaven, Conn. at 6:30 p.m. today prompted a massive multi-agency search.

Three of the man’s friends reported that he was fishing and dropped his pole into the water. He apparently went in after it and was swept away by the strong current.

Witnesses said the 36-year-old man resurfaced temporarily, grabbed onto nearby rocks, but went back under the water’s surface.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound received a call from a New Haven, Conn. 911 dispatcher at 6:45 p.m. A Station New Haven rescue boat crew immediately launched and began a search in the area of Middletown Avenue and Grand Avenue Bridges.

Rescue crews from the New Haven Police and Fire Departments, Milford and West Haven Fire Departments, Conn. State Police Emergency Services and Trooper One Air unit were also on scene.

The man is reported as a good swimmer.

The Quinnipiac River where this fisherman apparently fell in is about 10 feet deep. That portion of the Middletown Avenue Bridge is nine feet above the river’s surface. The current was moving at a speed of one knot.

“The current in that area can get tough enough to tire out even the most skilled swimmer,” said Coast Guard Capt. Daniel Ronan, Captain of the Port of Long Island Sound.

“We blanketed the area with air, surface and sub-surface rescuers,” said Chief Petty Officer Kurt Tremont, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound duty watch officer.

The Coast Guard will be assisting diving crews from New Haven Police Department, Milford Fire Department and the Conn. State Police to resume recovery operations at 6 a.m Saturday and will be enforcing a Safety Zone closing the Quinnipiac River between Grand Avenue and Middletown Avenue Bridges while recovery operations are on-going. All mariners are advised to take caution when in the vicinity of the safety zone.

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