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NUSAR Assists In Search For Sherman Drowning Victim



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SHERMAN — Newtown’s search and rescue dive team was called into service again last week, to assist regional agencies in a search for a man who went missing in Candlewood Lake. While it was an entirely different area, it was nevertheless a second drowning in the massive lake in less than a month.

Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue (NUSAR) was among the teams dispatched to Sherman on Friday evening, June 24, after a 20-year-old man went missing.

The victim, who was identified on June 30 as Denis Junio Rodrigues Pio, 20, of Bridgeport, was swimming in Candlewood Lake near Green Island, also known as Chicken Rock, according to statements from the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Friday’s dispatch included calls for DEEP Environmental Conservation Police, Candlewood Lake Authority, along with the Sherman, Danbury, New Milford, and Brookfield fire departments, and the Newtown, Danbury, Brookfield, and Connecticut State Police dive teams, also according to the state agency.

The search was suspended Friday night around 10 pm, and resumed Saturday morning. Teams continued searching Saturday and Sunday, with no success. NUSAR was among those to return on Sunday, according to a member of the local team.

The search was suspended on Monday due to the weather.

The search resumed Tuesday morning, June 28, and shortly after 9:30 am the body was recovered in the same area the 20-year-old male was last seen 4½ days earlier, according to DEEP.

The investigation is ongoing.

Candlewood Lake is the largest lake in Connecticut. With 65 miles of shoreline, it spans five towns and forms the western border of Brookfield. Its northern shores stretch into Sherman and New Milford; its southern shore is along Danbury Town Park.

The lake has a surface area of over 8.5 square miles, or 5,420 acres. It is 11 miles long, and two miles at its widest point. Green Island is an islet in northern Candlewood Lake. It is just 0.6 of a mile from its north to south point, and just over 280 yards at its widest west-east measurement.

It is north of Deer Island, another islet. Sherman Town Beach is approximately 1.7 miles from the northern tip of Green Island.

The June 24 incident was the second drowning in less than a month within Candlewood Lake. Larry Kwokpo Chan, 24, of Bristol, went missing in the Brookfield Bay area of the lake Sunday afternoon, May 29. Chan reportedly jumped into the water from an unmoving pontoon boat.

He never resurfaced. Divers found his body on June 16.


Managing Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com.

NUSAR’s boat, Sunday afternoon, June 25, near Chicken Rock on Green Island, the area where a swimmer was last seen before being reported missing. —Dawn Singer photo
NUSAR Lieutenant Hans Williams (left) and team member Adam Mack on the Newtown team’s boat, June 24, after the search was called for the night. —Dawn Singer photo
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