19-year-old Valatie man drowns while swimming Chatham

CHATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal drowning Sunday afternoon in Chatham.

Off of route 295 in Chatham the area says no trespassing and no parking, but there was a vehicle parked with a number of people outside who looked very upset. Sadly, the Columbia County Sheriff stated that one person who was swimming in the Stony Kill did not make it out alive.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victim as 19-year-old Brett Cappelli of Valatie, N.Y.

Police say a group of people were swimming near a waterfall area off Route 295 in Chatham Sunday, when, around 4:46 p.m., Cappelli never came back up to the surface.

“It looks like from the preliminary stages what we’re seeing right now is possibly an accidental drowning,” said David Bartlett, Sheriff, Columbia County.

Bartlett said a 19-year-old man was enjoying a summer day with friends swimming in the Stony Kill in Chatham off River Road. The kill is near private property and it’s not clear if people are allowed to swim there, but Bartlett said people do anyways.

“A young man that was down here with his friends and he was recovered by one of the Greenport rescue divers,” Bartlett said.

Many are now wondering exactly what happened?

“There’s a little waterfall and it appears that the individual may have come off that waterfall and something happened and he went under the water at that point,” Bartlett said.

During a time when many will be venturing out to local swimming holes Sheriff Bartlett has a warning.

“There’s so many spots now around especially with summer basically today starting with the hot warm temperatures so all I can say is basically please be careful where you’re swimming. Know your environment. These waters can be very dangerous,” Bartlett said.

NEWS10 will provide more details as they come forward.

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