DURHAM -- A 33-year old man from Queens, New York drowned at the Millers State Pond Park shortly before 6 p.m.
Family members have identified the man as Ramiro Bonilla. They said he was visiting Connecticut for the weekend with his wife and one-year old daughter.
“He was a really hardworking person, caring, he loved to make people laugh, he would make your day if you were upset,” said Alex Tapia of East Haven.
Tapia said Bonilla was recently married and his daughter is turning two-years old soon. EnCon Police said he swam a few laps until he screamed for help and went underwater.
“He had been swimming in the water for several minutes and at one point, he just came up over the surface, looked at his family, exclaimed help, and then disappeared underneath the surface of the water,” said Sgt. Chris Dwyer.
That is when divers and K-9 units assisted in the search and his body was found around 7 p.m. There was also a team effort from Middletown Fire Department, Haddam Fire Department as well as the Durham Fire Department.
Police said bystanders also played a role in helping them translate information to the family.
Police said he was a relatively good swimmer but there can be a current and that is something they are reminding all swimmers.
They said there are typically one to two drowning incidents at the pond each year.
People who visit the pond often said there are several signs that say swimming is not recommended because there are no lifeguards, but many people still do activities out on the water whether it is swimming or canoeing.
Encon Police are still investigating but they said drugs, alcohol and a medical condition are ruled out as factors that caused Bonilla to drown.