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Missing swimmer presumed dead - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Missing swimmer presumed dead

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COLCHESTER, Vt. -

"We have folks doing shoreline searches, we have folks in the water, we've been using air assets," says Chief Jennifer Morrison of the Colchester Police Department.

Rescue crews battle strong winds Saturday as they search for a missing 23-year-old man who could not get back to his boat and friends after diving into lake Champlain Friday night. The Coast Guard and Colchester police led search efforts through the evening and into Saturday.

"The Coast Guard has made that decision that as of noon today, this is no longer a viable rescue mission and we are now shifting into recovery mode," says Chief Morrison.  "We are still committed to finding the missing swimmer, to understanding the context within which the accident occurred and getting to the bottom of the incident."

Shortly after concluding the young man has likely drowned, crews temporarily suspended the search because of danger posed by high winds.  Colchester's Police Chief says weather and daylight will dictate how and when they search moving forward.

"Obviously, it continues to be a top priority for us, but we're going to do it in a safe and responsible manner."

Police are waiting to release the 23-year-old's name pending the notification of family.

"We have searched vigorously for this missing adult and our thoughts and prayers go to his family and we will try to bring their son home."

Police say they hope this tragedy serves as a somber reminder of the dangers of boating in less-than-ideal conditions.

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