EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A man was found dead Thursday inside a pickup truck that was pulled out of the Providence River, the East Providence Fire Department confirms.
A 911 call came in just before 5 a.m. from a person who had spotted the truck about 50 yards offshore from Bold Point Park, according to police.
Battalion Fire Chief Steve Mastriano told 12 News the vehicle was fully submerged by the time first responders arrived, but witnesses at the scene had footage of it in the water.
Marine units were called in, which Mastriano said allowed them to use sonar to locate the truck.
“There’s a lot of stuff on the bottom of the river here, a lot of obstacles, and sonar … it’s difficult to interpret sonar sometimes,” he explained. “So it took a while, several searches before one of the marine units identified the vehicle.”
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Once the truck was located, a dive team marked its location using a buoy, Mastriano said. However, the rising tide and strong currents prevented them from recovering it at first.
Before they were able to haul the truck out of the river around 12:30 p.m., divers confirmed there was a man’s body inside.
“It’s tragic. It’s tragic that someone lost their life,” Mastriano added.
The man was identified by authorities as James Cavanaugh, 52, of Taunton. Police said he was the only person inside the vehicle and foul play does not appear to be a factor.
“Cavanaugh’s family described him as an avid fisherman who would typically fish every day,” the East Providence Police Department said in a press release.
The state medical examiner’s office responded to the scene, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and emergency crews from several surrounding communities.
Mastriano said there was no indication of any environmental impacts such as fuel leakage.
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