BRANFORD — Early Friday afternoon, the Branford emergency call center received a frantic call from a boy saying his brother had fallen into the Branford River and was nowhere to be found.
“He was 10 years old and was playing by a culvert on Tabor Drive with his two brothers in the water, which was outgoing at the time, and swept him into a pipe culvert and he disappeared,” said Capt. Geoff Morgan of Branford Police Department.
Morgan confirmed, in a 5 p.m press conference, that the boy was discovered deceased, in the water, near the drain pipe.
Branford’s emergency crews were assisted by the Guilford Fire Department.
Boats, including those owned by citizens, zigzagged up and down the Branford river searching for the boy. Morgan says the boys home was searched to make certain he didn’t get out of the water and go home, which is near the river.
The Coast Guard was contacted about the possibility of providing a chopper, but Morgan says they were unable to assist because of rescues they were making in various spots off the coast of New England.
Neither Morgan nor Branford Fire Chief, Thomas Mahoney, could answer why there was no screen over this culvert drain pipe to prevent any large objects, including a person, from getting sucked in.
Hamlet M. Hernandez, Superintendent of Branford Schools released the following statement:
“Today, a ten-year-old child who attends the Branford Public Schools tragically lost his life. The student’s name is being withheld out of respect to the family. Our collective hearts are broken and our thoughts and prayers are with the family. The school district is arranging for grief counselors to support children experiencing difficulties with the tragic passing of a classmate.”