A 22-year-old former Brooklyn man lost his life Thursday afternoon following an incident at the Cedar Beach Lighthouse adjacent to the NRG Power Plant.
According to the Dunkirk Police Department, at 4:30 p.m. a witness called 911 to report an individual who had jumped into Lake Erie near NRG property and not surfaced near the channel marker owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Dunkirk Police officers responded to the area along with members of the Dunkirk Fire Department. Members of the Chautauqua County Underwater Rescue Team were also notified.
The area the group was swimming in is a popular place, according to Dunkirk Police Officer Doug Switzer.
"A lot of kids go out there and jump off (the platform). They're not supposed to be out there," he said.
While the property is not marked "No Trespassing," the property is on private property.
According to the victim's companions, they were swimming and jumping into the water off the lighthouse platform. The victim jumped into the water but did not come back to the surface. Two of his companions jumped in to assist him but he was in state of panic. They were unable to pull him from the water and he went under again.
A diver from the Underwater Rescue Team, who was off-duty and boating in the Dunkirk Harbor, heard the transmission and responded in his own boat. After an extensive search of the area, he was able to locate the victim at the bottom of the lake in approximately 14 feet of water and pull him to the surface. The victim was transported by a Dunkirk Fire Department boat to the City Pier while being worked on by medics. He was then taken by ambulance to Brooks Memorial Hospital. Attempts to revive the young man were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The victim's name has not been released due to pending notification of the family. The victim is believed to have been a SUNY Fredonia graduate who was still residing in the area.
Switzer gave advice to swimmers to use common sense while swimming.
"Be aware of where you're jumping in and stay out of areas of that you're supposed to be in," Switzer said.