GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – DEEP officials have identified the kayaker who died after overturning in Lake Quonnipaug in Guilford on Sunday afternoon.
The 34-year-old Orange resident was out on a kayak when he lost his paddle. He tried to retrieve his paddle and his kayak capsized, forcing him into the water, according to officials. He was about 200 yards offshore and wasn’t wearing a life jacket, according to State Environmental Conservation Police Captain Keith Williams.
DEEP officials have identified the man who died as Rodrigo Tocto.
“Things can go wrong very quickly on the water,” Williams said.
Multiple agencies from Guilford, Middletown, and Branford responded with boats, dive teams, and sonar equipment and eventually recovered the kayaker. However, he had been in the water for about 45 minutes.
He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
“From what we understand from family members, he was not a strong swimmer and went under in about eight to 10 feet of water,” Williams said.
This marks the fourth drowning in the state this year, and it comes one day after a teen died drowned in Uncas Pond in Lyme. Summer hasn’t even arrived yet, and Williams is concerned.
“You need to know your limitations when you’re going out on the water,” Williams said. “This happens all the time this time of year. You get the warm air masses coming in, temperatures are warm but the water temperature’s still cold.”
Guilford kayaker Andy Teofilo doesn’t take any chances.
“We would never go on our kayak without our preservers, never,” Teofilo said. “Safety first all the time”
Williams urges people going out on the water to have a life jacket, tell people where they are, and check the water conditions.