• Stevens Branch swim turns deadly in Barre
    By Eric Blaisdell
     | July 02,2013
     
    Photos by Adam Caira

    Above, bystanders embrace on Parkside Terrace in Barre on Tuesday, when rescue crews removed two young men from the Stevens Branch who had been swept over the falls. Left, one swimmer is guided to an ambulance Tuesday on Parkside Terrace. Police said one of the two young men pulled from the Stevens Branch died.

    BARRE — Police say a teenager died Tuesday afternoon in Barre after two swimmers went over the falls on the Stevens Branch.

    The names and ages of the boys were not released, but police did say one died and the other “seemed fine” Tuesday evening.

    Chief Michael Stevens of Barre Town said seven “kids” were at the top of the falls off Bridge Street. One of the swimmers successfully crossed the rushing water, but a second swimmer was caught by the current and pulled over the falls. Stevens said a third swimmer tried to help the boy who went over but was pulled over the falls as well. Both were taken from the scene by ambulance.

    Stevens said the water in the river was high and fast at the time of the incident.

    The call came in to 911 around 1:45 p.m. Initially the call was for a possible drowning.

    Within minutes, rescue personnel were on the scene, where one male victim was found to be not breathing; the other victim was floating in the water.

    Rescue crews worked on the second victim downstream before transporting him through rough terrain and brush, which had to be cut to make room for passage. Rescue personnel were seen taking chain saws down the path that leads to a clearing below the falls.

    Police said the incident remains under investigation.

    Barre City Recreation Director Stephanie Quaranta was helping direct traffic during the incident, which took place within walking distance of the city pool off Parkside Terrace.

    She called the event a tragedy.

    “Sometimes youngsters do go down swimming (at the falls), but the pool is right over here. It’s a tragedy with the water running like it is. Water holes are not like they would have been, say, a month ago,” she said.

    The state has seen an abundance of rain recently to the point that flood warnings went into effect last week.

    Also last week, a woman had to be pulled from the Dog River in Northfield after being swept downstream by strong currents.

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    @timesargus.com

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