Man drowns while crabbing in Old Saybrook

Old Saybrook — A 51-year-old Middletown man drowned late Saturday afternoon while crabbing at the end of Coulter Street.

Police said the Old Saybrook Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call at 4:26 p.m. that reported a man had fallen into the Connecticut River and was in distress.

Police, firefighters and ambulance personnel all responded and a firefighter went into the water to search for the man. Dive rescue teams from the Middletown and Guilford fire departments and state police assisted with the search as were boaters from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The victim, Donnie G. Perry, was located under water by a dive team and emergency personnel immediately began life saving efforts. Perry was transported to Middlesex Memorial Clinic, Shoreline where he died. Police said Perry had been under water for about 68 minutes.

Witnesses told police Perry had been crabbing and walked into the water to retrieve a trap. He lost his footing and fell into the water. Witnesses tried to rescue Perry but were unable to help because of a strong current. Friends told police they did not think Perry knew how to swim.

Police are investigating but said it appears the drowning was accidental.

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