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Good Samaritan says she tried to save drowning victims in Waterbury reservoir, officials warn swimmers against restricted waterways

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A woman who was swimming with a group of young people Tuesday night at a reservoir in Waterbury says she tried to save two young men who tragically drowned. Now, police are warning swimmers to stay out of restricted water areas.

Courtney Calvo is still shaken.

“A little traumatized,” she told News 8 in an exclusive interview Wednesday. “I keep replaying everything in my head.”

What she’s replaying is a tragedy that occurred less than a day ago at the East Mountain Reservoir — a place where the water is supposed to be off-limits to swimmers. There is fencing surrounds most of the water. There are trails around the water with “No Swimming” and “No Trespassing” signs. Still, that hasn’t stopped many young people over the years from somehow getting to the water for what they hope is summertime fun.

RELATED: Bodies of teen, man pulled from water at East Mountain Reservoir

But, Captain Steve Noreika, of the Waterbury Fire Department, one of the first responders at the scene Tuesday night, says those signs are up for a reason.

“This is not a designated swimming area,” he said. “There could be hazards such as rocks, vehicles, sinkholes, and the depths are unknown, as well as vegetation that could tangle your feet as you’re trying to swim.”

Waterbury Police say the two young men who drowned Tuesday were 24 and 17-years-old. Courtney, who didn’t know them before Tuesday night, says she was told the younger male was the brother of another young woman who was at the reservoir and the older male was that same woman’s boyfriend.

As of the writing of this article, police had not yet officially released the victims’ identities.

Calvo told News 8 the males had an air mattress that they were using to stay afloat in the water — until it gave out and they went under. She said the current was strong, it pulled them down, and when she tried to go down into the water to grab them she wasn’t able to reach them.

“We estimate they were in the water approximately a little less than an hour,” Captain Noreika said. “The young men [who] did not survive are my kids’ age.”

Captain Noreika tells News 8 there have been multiple drownings at this reservoir over the years. Tonight, he has a message for the loved ones who are now in mourning over this latest tragedy:

“My deepest sympathies. My heart goes out to you.”

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