Rescue crews called to Lake Carnegie
A passerby called Princeton Township Police at 4:55 p.m. reporting they had seen a person in the water near the Harrison Street bridge, Township Police Sergeant Michael Cifelli said at the scene. The caller reported the person was a white man with long hair wearing dark clothing. More than 20 vehicles from Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Princeton Township Police, Department of Public Safety and the Trenton, Prospect Heights, Cranbury and Princeton Fire Departments converged by the bridge to begin the rescue operation.
Cifelli said divers from the Trenton Fire Department entered the water at 5:44 p.m. to begin an underwater grid search of the area immediately around the bridge. Police began closing off the bridge shortly after 6 p.m.
In all, three rescue boats and two divers entered the lake in conditions that soon became pitch dark. When the divers ended their search shortly after 8 p.m., they had not located a body. Shortly thereafter, all teams left the water and the Trenton Fire Department left the scene.
While the dive teams were still in the water, Cifelli said the decision to call off the search would be made by the teams themselves. “Fatigue for their divers and personnel have to go into that equation, but we’ll do the best we can for as long as we can,” he said.
According to Cifelli, the person who called simply reported having seen a person in the water, but did not say they had seen anyone jump from the bridge. Later, a Township Police detective contacted the caller to follow up on the credibility of the report.
The lake is about 7 to 10 feet deep under the bridge, with a muddy bottom. Cifelli said that in the past 20 years, there have been no incidences of anyone jumping from the bridge.
The case was being handled by the Township Police with assistance from Public Safety, according to University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua.
Boats from the Princeton crews were out on the water for practice when the rescue teams first started setting up. Sam Jordan ’16 noticed rescue workers arriving at the scene when his boat first went out on the water. As the crew rowed back to shore, rescue workers were already in the water. They had to row around the boats as they passed the Harrison Street bridge back to the boathouse.
“When we were coming back in, there were search lights and divers, and we were just wondering what it was,” Jordan said.
In April 2010, a 26-year-old man who was not affiliated with the University died after his canoe capsized in the Delaware and Raritan Canal, which runs eastward of Lake Carnegie. In that case, the dive team from the Trenton Fire Department found the body 105 minutes after the Township Police first made the call.
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