Drownings mark summer of 2011 on Congamond Lakes

SOUTHWICK – While most of 2011 was pleasant on the Congamond Lakes, tragedy marred the summertime fun this year.
Three bodies were pulled from the same area of Middle Pond, the largest of the lakes, last summer. This was the first time in six years there was a death on the lakes.
The first tragedy was the drowning death of 22 year-old Larry Cauley of Suffield, Conn., in late June. Cauley and three friends were out on a pontoon boat when Cauley reportedly fell in. A resident of Berkshire Avenue heard people yelling for help and called the police. Southwick Police, along with state and environmental police, began searching for Cauley.
His body was found more than 24 hours later, 200 yards south of the site of the accident.
Police Chief Mark Krynicki said Cauley was found 32-feet below the water’s surface, using an underwater camera normally used to aid people who fall through the ice in the winter.
The second drowning, in early July, was Westfield native Kevin Major, 19. He was found in a cove off Congamond Lake, near the Suffield shore. Southwick Police Lt. David Ricardi said that Major’s body was recovered in about 30 feet of water.
Major was swimming with a group of friends when he began to struggle in the water, fighting to the surface of Middle Pond several times, before disappearing into the lake.
Ricardi said a dive team, consisting of Southwick state troopers and environmental police officers, used sonar to locate the victim’s body. Then, divers were dispatched from the search boats to recover the body.
The third body pulled from the lakes was that of Dong Soo Kim, 44, of Chicopee, in September. Kim’s body was found nearly eight hours after jumping into the lake to save his eight year-old daughter. A second daughter was in the boat at the time.
“He dove in after her, and she came up, but he did not surface,” said Fire Chief Richard Anderson.
According to a press release issued by Southwick Police, the eight year-old girl fell into the water after Kim made a sharp turn in his power boat. Anderson said nearby boaters pulled the young girl from the water and a witness at the scene said several emergency responders helped assist the young girl into a waiting ambulance. She was treated and released.
Anderson called state police to bring in SONAR equipment in the search for Kim, Search and rescue dogs were also used to recover the body, a first in Southwick.
“We called in the search and rescue dogs to get the man’s scent off the surface of the water,” said Anderson.
Suffield Police and EMS also responded to the scene.

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