Police search Oxbow after boat reportedly hits swimmer

  • Daviana Rivera explains to the State Police that she believes she saw a swimmer get struck by a boat, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Luis Aguaiza explains to the State Police that he believes he saw a swimmer get struck by a boat Tuesday on the Connecticut River Oxbow. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A State Police helicopter and an Environmental Police boat search the Connecticut River Oxbow for a missing swimmer who witnesses say was struck by a boat, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Northampton and Easthampton police and fire personnel also searched. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • State Police, left, Northampton Fire Chief Jon Davine, center, Easthampton Deputy Chief Wayne Hennemann, right, and others, investigate at the scene of a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Search and rescue teams from the Environmental Police, left and center, and one from Easthampton police search for a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A State Police helicopter searches for a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A search and rescue team from Northampton fire search for a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Oxbow.

  • A pair of divers from the State Police surface after searching for a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A pair of divers from the State Police head to the shore after searching for a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A diver from the State Police gets a hand from the Easthampton police as he scales an embankment after searching for a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A diver from the State Police heads to the shore after searching for a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A diver from the State Police heads to the shore after searching for a missing swimmer, Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the Connecticut River Oxbow. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/23/2020 6:48:13 PM

NORTHAMPTON — An intense search for a swimmer who was reportedly hit by a boat was underway for several hours Tuesday afternoon in the Oxbow section of the Connecticut River.

Several boats were out searching on the Oxbow, while a dive team stood by, Northampton Police Detective Sgt. Corey Robinson said. A Massachusetts State Police helicopter circled overhead.

Northampton Police got a report sometime after 3 p.m. of a boat running over a swimmer, and officials spoke with at least two witnesses who said they saw it happen, Robinson said at the scene.

Officers appeared to be interviewing bystanders, and yellow police tape roped off a section of grass by the riverbank along Old Springfield Road.

Police said they didn’t find any clothing or a car that could have belonged to the swimmers, Robinson said. As of 5 p.m., the crew was still searching.

“We’re trying to piece this all together,” Robinson said.

Daviana Rivera said she was fishing on the Connecticut River Oxbow shortly after 3 when she noticed a boat headed toward a lone swimmer. “They are going to hit them,” she recalled telling her brother, Luis Aguaiza, who was also there.

Rivera and Aguaiza both said they saw the collision of the boat and the swimmer, who they said had been in the water for 20 to 30 minutes. Rivera called 911.

“We all saw him get hit — we all heard him get hit,” Aguaiza said. He pointed to a red pontoon boat still in the water near shore that he said hit the swimmer.

“The noise sucked the most,” Rivera said. “It was really loud.”

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.


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