NORTH ATTLEBORO — Divers retrieved a 16-year-old boy’s body from the muddy floor of Whiting’s Pond late Sunday afternoon after a family member noticed he was missing during a family outing.
Family members of the teen were swimming with him, when he reportedly went under water, and a cousin alerted others on the beach that he was missing shortly before 5 p.m., Sunday. The pond does not have a lifeguard.
Police and firefighters were called to the beach just before 5 p.m., and immediately launched boats, and with the aid of the private citizens using their own boats, searched the water until dive team members from Norton and Taunton arrived on the scene.
The Plainville Fire Department brought a thermal imaging unit to the scene and a state police helicopter was called.
Divers found the boy, who was not immediately identified, about 90 minutes later and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
North Attleboro Fire Chief Michael Brousseau said the 16-year-old was part of a family from the Providence area visiting the pond on what was a sunny day with temperatures in the 80s.
Divers found the body about 30 feet from the shore in an area that was described by Brousseau as very muddy and silty.
Ali Sadi of Attleboro who often comes to the beach, located off of Broadway Extension in North Attleboro, said the family of the teen was sitting next to him when the cousin came out of the water saying that something was wrong.
The cousin, according to Sadi, reported his relative had gone under water and didn’t resurface.
Sadi said many others on the beach rushed into the water and began searching for the swimmer as soon as they heard the teen was missing.
“A lot of people jumped in,” he said.
The 90-minute search was conducted by several local departments.
Firefighters from Plainville launched a drone with thermal imaging equipment in an attempt to search below the water and reeds along the banks of the pond.
Around 6:12 p.m. a Massachusetts State Police helicopter arrived on the scene and conducted an aerial search of the waterway.
Brousseau said divers were in the water for about 90 minutes before the teen was found.
He said the search was hampered by silt and that the pond is very muddy.
While searchers were in the water, family members of the teen waited anxiously on the beach, watching as divers scoured the water.
At one point, firefighters rushed to a family member, believed to be the teen’s mother, who was overcome.
She was transported by ambulance to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.