Local Man Drowns In Moore Reservoir
BY AMY ASH NIXON, Staff Writer
WATERFORD, VT - WATERFORD -- A 23-year-old Waterford man died in a watercraft accident Saturday evening.
A search for Joshua Connelly ended late Sunday afternoon when his body was found in about 15 feet of water. Police said he had not been wearing a personal flotation device.
State police said Connelly was riding a personal watercraft with a friend at Moore's Dam Reservoir between 8 and 9 p.m. Saturday.
The pair had been riding a Jet Ski on the reservoir when a thunderstorm broke out over the region, and according to the report heard over the police scanner Saturday evening, they abandoned the craft fearing it would be struck by lightning.
Connelly's companion, whom police did not name, made it to shore and was rescued Saturday night. He told police the Jet Ski began having mechanical problems, and Connelly jumped into the water to swim to shore, which was about 75-yards away.
The friend told police that when he got to shore, he looked back and saw Connelly flailing his arms.
Police said the friend pulled the Jet Ski to shore and heard Connelly calling for help. He tried to help, but was unable to do so.
New Hampshire and Vermont authorities responded, but could not find Connelly Saturday evening.
A command center consisting of state police, members of Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the state police scuba team, the Fish and Wildlife Department and VSP auxiliary personnel, was set up at the shores of the normally tranquil Moore Reservoir, and Connelly's family kept vigil at the water's edge.
His mother, Barbara, waited on the banks of the water with good friends, and other family was at the scene through out the day, state police said.
CALEX Ambulance stood guard, and a huge state police command center vehicle was stationed at the scene.
Several police officers were out on the dock where people usually jump off for fun, and nearby, people had set up a weekend party and were out enjoying the afternoon, as the tragic event played out.
Connelly was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington. Police said the investigation into the incident is continuing.
Audrie Wright, who owns a home just up the road from where the tragedy occurred, was outside at her picnic table Sunday early evening, a glass bottle filled with lilacs.
"I'm worried about everyone," she said, looking very sad about the stream of police and emergency vehicles that had been going past her property for nearly 24 hours by then. "It's very sad."
Wednesday June 6, 2007
Joshua Connelly, 23
- Joshua Roland Connelly, 23, died in Waterford Saturday evening, June 2, 2007.
Born on May 7, 1984, he is survived by his mother, Barbara Connelly, his brother, Paul, and sister, Crystal, of Waterford (PO Box 18, Lower Waterford VT 05848); and his grandparents, Peg and Doc Tirrell of Waterford.
He is predeceased by his father, Jim.
Josh attended St. Johnsbury Academy and graduated from Littleton High School in 2003.
In high school he was an accomplished sprinter and was a Vermont state champion two years in a row.
A Life Scout, Josh enjoyed fishing and being outdoors. Josh was very loyal to his friends and was often the peacemaker when arguments arose.
Memorial services will be held Sunday, June 17, at 2 p.m., at the North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury.
Memorial contributions may be directed to either Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America, P.O. Box 557, Waterbury, VT 05676 or to North Congregational Church, 1325 Main St., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family privately on-line at www.saylesfh.com.
Sayles Funeral home of St. Johnsbury is assisting the family with arrangements.
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