OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTIC)  A Middletown man drowned Saturday afternoon after exhaustive efforts by emergency responders and the hospital to revive him.

The Old Saybrook Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call at 4:26 PM that a man had fallen into the water and was in distress at the end of Coulter Street.  Rescue crews immediately responded and the Old Saybrook Fire Department deployed fireman into the water to begin searching for the man.  Dive Rescue teams from Middletown Fire Department, Guilford Fire Department and the CT State Police all responded to assist with the search.  Life Star Helicopter was put on standby.

The victim, Donnie G. Perry, 51, was located under water by a dive team and emergency personnel immediately began life saving efforts.  The efforts continued as Perry was transported to Middlesex Memorial Clinic, Shoreline where he succumbed to his injuries.  Perry had been under water for about sixty-eight minutes when he was located.

Reports from witnesses indicate Perry had been crabbing and walked into the water to retrieve a crabbing trap.  He lost his footing, and fell into the water.  Witnesses nearby tried to rescue Perry but were unable to help him due to the fast and strong water current in the area.  Friends stated they did not think Perry knew how to swim.

While the investigation is active, it appears as if the drowning was accidental.


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