NEWFIELD, N.Y. (WETM) – Two people have died after drowning in a waterfall in the Town of Newfield in Tompkins County.
According to the Ithaca Fire Department, Tompkins County 911 Dispatchers received a call on Monday night around 6:45 pm for a person who had drowned. The Newfield Fire Company and Bangs Ambulance Paramedics responded to the unofficial swimming area on Newfield Depot Road near Adams Road where it appears that one person was caught in the boil of a waterfall and drown.
A second individual contacted a passerby to call for help and then attempted to rescue the first person. The fire department says the second person got caught up in the raging waters and also drowned. Children on the side of the road waived down a driver who called for help.
According to Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osborne, the victims have been identified as Carissa A. Stone, age 27 of Newfield, and Michael R. Mayer, 29 of Van Etten. Both deaths have been determined to be accidental.
The children involved included a 5-year-old child of the couple, as well as their two 9-year-old nephew and niece. The children witnessed the incident but were physically uninjured.
Newfield Fire Company responded to the 911 call and called for the Ithaca Fire Department’s Rope Rescue Team to assist. Firefighters trained in Swift Water and High Angle Rope Rescue were lowered into the gorge on a rope system to gain access.
The Tompkins County Sheriff, New York State Police, and the Cayuga Heights FD also assisted at the call. Responders cleared the scene around 9:30 pm. The fire department issued a reminder for everyone “to respect the power of fast-moving water and the areas near a waterfall when hiking and to only swim in designated areas with a lifeguard present.”