Community mourns the tragic loss of 10-year old boy who died in the Branford River

BRANFORD - The community came together Friday night as they mourned the loss of a ten-year old boy who tragically died in the Branford River.

Residents were seen laying down flowers, a football, a lacrosse ball, and a necklace for the memorial at the spot of where the tragedy happened.

"I don't know. I just can't think straight anymore," said Cornelius Sansone of Branford.

Sansone has lived in Branford for 75 years and he works at his family-owned farm right next to the river.

He said he was overcome with emotion as soon as he found out who the boy was. He used to go to his farm with his two brothers and parents all the time.

"Awesome. Awesome. They were all awesome. They a stuck together the way a family should be," added Sansone.

Officials said the boy and his two brothers were swimming in the river by Tabor Drive shortly after 1 p.m. when he slipped on an embankment and was sucked into the 48-inch pipe.

Crews immediately started a search but by the time they found him, it was too late.

"When I was a kid, my cousin drowned over here and my father found them and then another guy over here, the boat went over and it was like a whirlpool," added Sansone.

"They should put a sign up there. No fishing, no swimming because kids go off the railroad tracks and they'll jump in and off the bridge and I've seen them jumping off where I've given them hell," said Sylvia Jacobson of Branford.

It was raining heavily in the afternoon which made it even more challenging for emergency crews to find the boy. Eventually, he was found within 50 yards of the pipe.

"Please, please, when waterways swell around rainstorms, it becomes important for our children to not get into these areas as it floods rather quickly," said Capt. Geoff Morgan of the Branford Police Department.

The fire chief said this was not an isolated incident as the pipes are everywhere, so it can happen to anyone at anytime.

"These culverts where the tide goes from wide areas like the river into marshy areas where bridges go over, there are lots of them located all over the State of Connecticut," said Thomas Mahoney of the Branford Fire Department.

Officials have called this a very tragic loss for the community especially since this is not the first time they say they have had to search for a younger person in the river.