PEMBROKE, N.Y. (WIVB) — State Police are investigating a drowning at Indian Falls in Genesee County.
Police say a group of people were jumping into the water over the falls when one of them did not resurface. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m.
State Police tell News 4 that the victim,Bradley Augustin, 22, and some friends were hanging out for his birthday. When Augustin was in the water swimming, he did not come back up. “We don’t believe foul play is an issue at this time, but we’re unsure why during swimming at the base of Indian Falls, why he would just go under suddenly, and not resurface,” said Trooper James O’Callaghan, Troop A Public Information Officer.
State Police say other swimmers tried to perform CPR on Augustin, but he didn’t make it.
Neighbors of the falls tell News 4 others have been hurt at this location before, and many are calling on the town to change the laws to prohibit people from jumping or swimming there. “We’ve complained this to them over and over,” said one neighbor, Barry Guthrie. “They’ve done absolutely nothing but spin us around.”
There is a ‘no swimming’ sign and several ‘no trespassing’ signs posted on the property above the falls on Gilmore Road, but the Falls themselves are public, and jumping and swimming are not illegal. “That isn’t private property, so technically you can go on that,” Trooper O’Callaghan explained, adding that no criminal charges are being filed in this case.
But, while jumping is not a crime, it’s not always a good idea. “It’s never 100 percent safe to do anything like this,” Trooper O’Callaghan said. “You’re jumping from a stone edge down a falls into a body of water. Can I say it’s safe all the time? No I can’t.”
At this point, it’s not clear whether Augustin was a strong swimmer or whether the low water levels from the drought could have been a factor in this accident. Investigators say it could take weeks or months to get full autopsy results back in to determine whether alcohol or some sort of medical emergency could have been to blame for the drowning.
Police continue to investigate.
Meanwhile, there’s been an outpouring of emotion on Twitter and Facebook from friends of Augustin who are heartbroken by their loss.
Augustin was originally from Florida but moved to Buffalo to attend E.C.C. before becoming a Defensive End for the Buffalo Lightning indoor arena football team.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to pay for the expenses related to bringing him home and his funeral. It can be found here.