Identity of Haddam Drowning Victim Released

Dive crews from three towns searched Sunday night for Hartford man who drowned off the coast of Haddam Meadows State Park.

Editor's Note: The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reports Sunday night's drowning victim is Dominic Sobota, 18, of Ward Street, Hartford. Sobota was pronounced dead at 9:33 p.m. He was recovered from the river approximately 300 yards from the boat launch by the Middletown Fire Department's dive team.

11:15 p.m. Update:

The body of a man, presumed to be in the age range of 18-20, was located by dive teams at about 8:50 p.m. Sunday evening after nearly two hours of searching.

Shortly after 7 p.m. on Sunday evening, a man was reported missing in the CT River. According to a 911 call received by Valley Shore Emergency Center, the individual was swimming near a boat just offshore of the Haddam Island State Park when he went under and did not resurface.

Crews were called in from Haddam as well as neighboring rescue crews from East Haddam, Chester, South District, Middletown and Portland to assist in the search. Dive crews from South District, Middletown and Portland searched in a surface and grid pattern along the shore, where they eventually recovered the body, according to Bob Norton, Public Relations Liaison of the Haddam Volunteer Fire Company.

The man's identity has not been released yet.


Original Story:

Haddam Fire Company, East Haddam Fire Department and members of the Portland Dive team were at Haddam Meadow State Park searching for a man who reportedly fell into the CT River on Sunday evening. 

Witnesses report that a young man around the age of 18 fell off his Jetski into the CT River, just off the coast of Haddam Meadows State Park near Haddam Island State Park, a 14-acre island park in the middle of the river between Haddam and Haddam Neck (see map).

The man was not wearing a lifejacket, according to another park-goer on the scene.

A group of what appeared to be the missing man's acquaintances were hugging and crying nearby while crews continued their search. When asked what happened, one of the men shook his head and replied "I don't know" as he returned to hug the group of distraught young adults. 

Crews on the scene would not release any information while the search was still underway. 

Everett Coyne August 02, 2011 at 04:31 AM
I was in a white boat with a blue canopy hanging above the back and I was near the boat when someone yelled, "HELP, SOMEONE IS MISSING", or something like it. So my dad went and help them look for the guy. So my dad told us to call for help (911), and on the CB. When the police and fire crew was coming a guy yelled, "TELL THE FIRE PEOPLE TO SEARCH AROUND HERE!". My dad's girlfriend, her grand daughter, her grand daughter's friend, my brother, her 2 grandsons, and me stayed on the boat. Cause they told everyone to get off the sandy area. My dad's girlfriend called 911, as her grand daughter and her grand daughter's friend were yelling for the fire guys. I was blowing the horn, which wasnt really loud (which really sucks) to get them over there. Apparently there was the water fire and police coming over.so after about 2 or 3 hours went by, we left. As we left I saw one of the dead guys' friend on his knees next to a dead log crying :(. i felt a little of his pain and i still do when i think of that guy. If you look at one of the photos, the boat on is on the right of the 2 rescue boats. Im the one in the back standing.
Darrell Lucas August 02, 2011 at 05:11 AM
Robert Casale said "There has pretty much NEVER been a person drowning in over a decade here and if you can't take that into appreciation, than please think twice." You are VERY VERY wrong. A little girl was taken in by the river a few years ago just by wading by the side. Another downing was at harbor park. I had lunch there when he died. He was drunk jumped off the side and never came up. The river is extremely powerful and most people dont understand this until its too late. I've had 7 years of swimming lessons and I am sure I cant be prepared for the power of that river. So for your info there has been two deaths because of the power of the river in less than a decade.
Darrell Lucas August 02, 2011 at 05:17 AM
There needs to be a notice for the public NOT TO SWIM or jump in the river. The Connecticut river is large and powerful and you wont know this until its too late. Water is thin in your hands.. but when it surrounds your body it takes a hold of you it does what it pleases.
LJ Czaja August 02, 2011 at 11:39 AM
A drowning is a horrible thing. Tubing in a river w/o a floatation device when you can't swim isn't too smart.....but honestly, at 18 haven't we all done really stupid things?? Dirty diapers in our waterways isn't new either....I'm 62 and when I was very young...moms used to rinse out their baby's cloth diapers in the same lake where we were swimming!! That's partially how they got that way. As far as the CT river being polluted...it's a lot cleaner now....but drive out West and take a look at the beautiful blue Missouri river and other rivers out there. All our rivers in the NE all look black!
Jenn Ricci August 06, 2011 at 05:19 PM
Regardless of who should or should not be using our waterways, its a free country. Whether they are from the inner city, the burbs or out in the country, we all need to know how to swim!!! My own children took swimming lessons at 6 months old..they are offered everywhere. In this day and age, we need to take the responsiblity to teach our children to respect all bodies of water including our own bathtub! My thoughts and sympathy go out to the family who lost their loved one..lets take this as a lesson and LEARN TO SWIM!!


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