A rescue effort began on the flat rocks over looking the pools and rapids of the Buttermilk Falls scenic byway on Aug. 9, after state police received a report of a possible drowning.
Nicolas M. Padilla, 20 of Buffalo was reported by police to have been swimming with friends in the slower moving pools of the water below the popular swimming spot of Buttermilk Falls. It was reported that Padilla and a friend ascended the rocks adjacent to the water fall and began to traverse the river’s current near the crest of the water fall, Padilla, was said to have lost hit footing and was swept over the fall by a current and pinned beneath the surface of the water.
Emergency responders worked for approximately three hours before they were able to recover the victim from the river.
Padilla, was pronounced dead on the scene by Hamilton County Coroner, Virginia Jennings who authorized the removal of Padilla’s body and the eventual transfer to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville. An autopsy will be preformed at a later date by Dr. Jay Jungen.
Participating in the rescue and recovery efforts were the Long Lake Fire Dept., Long Lake Ambulance Service, Tupper Lake Dive Team and Fire Dept., Saranac Lake Dive Team and Fire Dept., Hamilton County Sheriff’s Dept., New York State Forest Rangers, and New York State Police Aviation.
State Police have responded to several drownings throughout the Adirondacks this summer, in an effort to warn swimmers of the dangers of areas like Buttermilk Falls LT. John Coryea with the Criminal Investigations unit of New York State Police Troop B issued a statement.
“We’d like remind the public that river currents, especially after a rain storm, can be much stronger than they appear to be. Even average currents may have enough force to knock a person over and make it difficult or impossible for them to resurface for air,” said Coryea. “Anyone who engages in activities in a river, such as swimming or fishing, should be sure they are familiarized with the depth of the water and the strength of the current. Further, anyone walking along a riverbank or attempting to traverse a river should be sure of their footing and should use a safety line when possible. Lastly, anyone that plans to go in or around a river is encouraged to have at least one other person with them and they should not enter the water if the current appears to be too strong.”