DURHAM -- Police have identified the man who drowned at Millers Pond State Park as Donovan Perry, 27, of Southington.
The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said it happened at Miller’s Pond State Park Saturday afternoon.
“We went over there with the raft and everyone around there was saying that it looked like someone drowned or something,” said Chris Adkins of New Britain.
“We heard help, help and we looked in the water, he’s like he’s bobbing he’s looking up trying to stay afloat,” said Meriden resident Christian Dichello.
Witnesses said quiet day at the park suddenly turned tragic when a man started drowning around 2pm.
Chris Adkins and his girlfriend Daniella Schettini met the victim for the first time while hanging out with mutual friends, including the victims’s brother.
“There was just a group of people jumping, diving, having fun. I guess they got way out of hand,” Schettini said.
When Adkins noticed trouble, he grabbed his yellow raft and headed over to the area in the pond the man was struggling in with a friend to help.
“My friend was diving off looking,” Adkins said. “I waited with the raft until the dive team came and then we got out the way.”
Just before the victim went under water, witnesses said he jumped from a cliff and tried to swim across the pond to the other side.
However, the water was too deep and the man could not make it across according to those who saw the tragic scene.
Dichello was at the park with a different group of friends when he saw the victim drowning and tried desperately to save the victim’s life.
“We tried to swim out but by the time we get there he’s already under the water,” Dichello said.
No one at the scene was able to get to the Donovan in time.
Schettini recalled calling 911 as the victim took his last breaths.
“They’re calling his name to see if you know he would respond and I guess it was too late and they yelled that can you call 911 and that’s what I did,” Schettini said.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the body of the 27-year-old Connecticut man was pulled from the water before he was pronounced dead around 3pm
“Everyone was quiet and in shock,” Adkins said.
DEEP tells Fox 61 news that a Middletown dive team recovered the victim's body within an hour of the drowning.