34-year-old man drowns at Quonnipaug Lake

A 33-year-old man drowned while kayaking at Lake Quannipaug.
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 4:44 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 12:03 AM EDT
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GUILFORD, Conn. (WFSB) - A 34-year-old man drowned while kayaking at Quonnipaug Lake.

He was not wearing a life jacket.

The man was kayaking when he lost his paddle. His kayak capsized while he was attempting to recover a lost paddle.

Officials identified the man as Rodrigo Tocto, 34, of Orange.

Several dive teams across the area responded, including the Guilford PD and FD, Branford Fire, Madison, South Fire District and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

The man was recovered from the water by the Guilford Dive Team and CPR was administered.

He was taken to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Shea Decesare lives near the lake.

She said, “I was shocked. I looked out there and there was like a million ambulances and stuff. Safety vehicles. It was shocking seeing it and there they are scuba diving for someone I guess,”

Decesare witnessed it all from her backyard.

Connecticut Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Captain Keith Williams said, “basically, if you enter the water in those conditions, you have about one minute before you lose your ability to speak. 10 minutes before you lose muscle function and an hour before you go unconscious. So, without a life jacket on you are using more energy to try and stay warm and stay afloat.”

Williams said the water is still too cold, plus the currents could’ve been strong. The man who did not have a life jacket was found in an area 8 to 10 feet deep.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a PFD in a paddle craft even if you are just swimming and not a strong swimmer. Wear a life jacket. They are proven to save lives,” said Williams.

This was the second death this weekend from a water related incident. Yesterday a 16-year-old boy drowned while swimming in Uncas Pond. The teen had pool floats, but not a certified life jacket.

DEEP officials are urging people to think about water and boat safety especially as we get closer to summer.

Stay with Channel 3 for updates.