Apparent drowning in Newbury shocks the community

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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NEWBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Police are investigating how a swimmer died at a lake in Newbury over the weekend.

The call came in Sunday afternoon at Halls Lake in Newbury for an unresponsive swimmer who had been pulled to shore at the beach.

It was a startling incident for those who call the area home.

“At the time, at first, I thought maybe he was alive and we could save him,” said Chris Wilson of Newbury.

Wilson says he takes a dip at Halls Lake every single day. But, Sunday, was like no other. When he got to the public beach, a woman approached him saying there was a man floating in the water.

Wilson immediately sprang into action and pulled the man to shore.

“I pulled him in and when I realized the man was dead, I called out to see if anyone there knew CPR,” Wilson said.

“They were trying to revive him. I bet they spent over an hour trying to revive him and no luck,” said Bob McCarthy, whose family has owned a house on the lake for 60 years. “Just saw the poor body and them feverishly trying to bring him back to life.”

According to police, James Peabody, 72, of Bradford, entered the water Sunday afternoon and began swimming. But a short time later, he appeared unresponsive.

Witnesses say it was a busy beach day. Several young children were present.

“It is super unfortunate to lose a life, especially seeing it on the lake like this. It is an unfortunate thing that we will all have to experience but you know it shakes you up a little bit,” said Ryan Linabury, 17, a witness.

Peabody’s body was taken to the chief medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. At this time it does not appear suspicious.

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