Search for swimmer in Candlewood Lake now a recovery operation

Recovery operation underway at Candlewood Lake
Published: May. 29, 2022 at 11:24 PM EDT|Updated: May. 30, 2022 at 10:16 AM EDT
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BROOKFIELD, CT (WFSB) - A person went missing in Candlewood Lake in Brookfield late Sunday night.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials confirmed to Channel 3 on Monday that the search turned into a recovery operation.

They also said the swimmer was a 24-year-old man from Bristol. His name was not released.

The search was suspended overnight and resumed Monday morning.

DEEP’s Environmental Conservation Police said the swimmer went missing after going into the water from a boat. They are looking into whether he willingly jumped, accidentally fell or was playfully pushed.

The swimmer was with a bunch of friends and the boat was stationary at the time.

DEEP said the search for the person started immediately.

It received the call for help around 11 p.m.

EnCon police said the search primarily took place on the Brookfield side of the lake.

Danbury firefighters, the Candlewood Lake Authority, Brookfield police, Danbury police, and the Connecticut State Police dive team all assisted on Sunday.

Boaters were advised to stay of out of the way of the search operation.

“Trying to keep people away from the area [Monday], that’s why we have a lot of dive units out here just to set the perimeter at slow minimum wake and out of the way for the rescue operation because it gets a little crazy with the wakes from the boats,” said Capt. Keith Williams, EnCon police. “It disrupts the search efforts quite a bit.”

Crews have been searching all day long and they have honed in on a specific area of the lake.

It’s an area about 200 yards from shore.

Officials say they were initially searching a quarter mile of the lake, but it’s since been narrowed down to a 100-foot radius as they continue to try to recover the body of this young man.

Divers are going 20-30 feet beneath the surface to the bottom of the lake, looking for the body of a 24-year-old man from Bristol.

Police said the victim was on a pontoon with his friends Sunday night when he ended up in the water.

How he ended up in the water is still a mystery, but between the currents and the cold temperature here at Candlewood, officials said this is a recovery mission.

“I have numerous group chats that have been talking about how they’re afraid to go out on the water, I have friends who have boats who don’t want to take it out right now and we’ve been talking about it a lot,” said Baron Brown of Brookfield.

Locals are devastated because this is the second death on the lake in the span of five days.

On Thursday, a 76-year-old man who was working on his boat fell into about eight feet of water and apparently drowned.

“It’s very scary to go in the water now. I own a boat and if I think about going to swim in the water, I’m going to be thinking about the two people who have drowned,” said Brown.

Officials said they are up against several challenges.

The choppy current, the depth of the water in some areas and some debris, like logs and branches have impacted the search so far.

When the body is found, police will turn to the other part of this investigation, mainly focusing on how this man ended up in the water in the first place.

Officials said they have stopped searching Monday evening.

They will be back searching Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Search for missing man in Candlewood Lake continues
Crews continue to search for a missing swimmer in Candlewood Lake.
A person went missing in Candlewood Lake in Brookfield late Sunday night.
A person is missing after going in the water at Candlewood Lake Sunday.