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Westfield River Drowning Victim in West Springfield Identified

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – A Holyoke man is dead from an apparent drowning Tuesday afternoon along the Westfield River.

West Springfield Fire Chief William Flaherty says that around 2:00 p.m., they received a call reporting a possible drowning along the river near where South Boulevard, Park Street and River Street intersect.

When emergency crews arrived, Flaherty adds that they found a two people performing CPR on one person, on top of a concrete barrier. That person, along with a second that Flaherty described as a “near drowning victim”, were taken to area hospitals.

West Springfield Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Culver adds one of those transported, a male victim now identified by police as 24-year-old, Wilfredo Dones-Guzman of East Dwight Street in Holyoke, was pronounced dead from an apparent drowning.

Two other people, a man and woman, were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Flaherty says that over the years, that area along river has been a problem spot, with police often having to chase away people looking to go in the river. “It’s a nice spot, I guess, for them to come and stay cool, but not having a proper flotation device and not knowing the current and not being good swimmers…not being able to handle the current,” he says.

People who fish in the area say the jumping spot is a crowded place on hot summer days.

“I see a lot of kids having a good time, but there is not a lot of supervision,” said James Gilligan, West Springfield.

West Springfield Police are cautioning the public stay away from the river because of the currents right now.

“You know the pools are gonna be open soon, if they are not already. We’d like to see people use the pools under supervision of lifeguards,” said West Springfield Fire Dept. Deputy Chief Dan Culver.

This is the second incident in a western Mass. river today. Crews in Pittsfield are currently in the Housatonic River after a swimmer was swept under the water and into a drain.

 


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