JAMESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – A 56-year-old man died during Saturday morning’s ‘Save The Bay’ swim from Newport to Jamestown.
The Jamestown Police Department put out a release Saturday evening saying the police and fire departments were dispatched to Potter’s Cove around 10 a.m. for a report of a swimmer in distress.
The victim was removed from the water by ‘Save The Bay’ volunteers, after finding him in distress and unresponsive. The volunteers then began emergency treatment on shore before the fire department arrived on scene, according to Jamestown Police. He was transported to Newport Hospital by the Jamestown Fire Department where he was pronounced dead.
Early indications lead the police to believe the man suffered from a medical problem while in the water, but the cause of his death remains under investigation pending an autopsy by the Rhode Island Medical Examiner’s Office.
The identity of the victim has not been released pending family notification.
According to the ‘Save The Bay’ release regarding Saturday’s event, nearly 500 swimmers and 180 kayakers were scheduled to participate in the 1.7 nautical mile swim from Naval Station Newport to Potter’s Cove, where the victim had a medical emergency. Saturday’s swim was the 40th annual ‘Save The Bay’ event.
Eyewitness News spoke with ‘Save The Bay’ Executive Director Jonathan Stone, who swam in Saturday’s event, and expressed his sympathies and heartfelt prayers to the victim’s family. Stone went on to say that “all of the swimmers are a part of the ‘Save The Bay’ family and this incident has had a traumatic affect on the community and everyone is very saddened by this tragedy.”
According to Stone, the swim was so busy that many people didn’t know anything had happened and the event went on as scheduled.