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Mass. man drowns in swimming accident in Albany


July 08, 2010
ALBANY — A Massachusetts man drowned in Iona Lake on Saturday July 3.

The victim has been identified as Shawn Bluefort, 30, of Salem, Mass. Bluefort and two of his friends were swimming to an adjacent point when Bluefort began to struggle and call out for help at around 5:32 p.m. At the time, Bluefort was about 100 feet from shore, according to New Hampshire Marine Patrol.

Bluefort's friends were unable to save him and he drowned in about 14 feet of water. A dive team from New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recovered his body at 7:27 p.m.

Once Fish and Game's divers reached the lake, it took them about six minutes to find the body. Conway Fire and Rescue had snorkelers and rescue boats searching for Bluefort for over an hour before Fish and Game began its recovery efforts, said Fish and Game Conservation Officer Alex Lopashanski. Witnesses were able to help the divers locate the area where Bluefort was found, but none actually saw him go under.

Bluefort's body was transported to Furber and White Funeral Home in North Conway. The incident remains under investigation, according to the Marine Patrol.

"It's an unfortunate accident," said Lopashanski who couldn't comment on the cause of the drowning.

At the time of the accident, the water temperature was 75.8 degrees, which is "about as warm as it gets," said Lopashanski.

Lake Iona is a 74-acre lake that's located near Route 16 in Albany. It has a maximum depth of about 30 feet and an average depth of 16 feet. It contains game fish such as smallmouth bass and rainbow trout.

The owners of Pine Knoll Campground, which is on Iona Lake, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, July 5.

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