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Woman drowns in Pemigewasset River swim spot

Union Leader Correspondent

May 18. 2017 9:04PM
Swimmers gather Thursday at Lady's Bathtub, a popular spot on the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln. A woman drowned there Wednesday. (JOHN KOZIOL/CORRESPONDENT)

LINCOLN — Authorities on Thursday afternoon recovered the body of a local woman last seen Wednesday evening swimming at Lady’s Bathtub, a popular spot on the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River.

New Hampshire Marine Patrol said the woman’s name is being withheld until her family is notified.

Lincoln police received a 9-11 call from the victim’s boyfriend at 7:36 p.m. Wednesday; the search began that evening but was unsuccessful.

Her body was found at 12:23 p.m. Thursday in the vicinity of Lodge and South Peak roads.

Marine Patrol said the water temperature was 46 degrees. Submersion in cold water can quickly lead to hypothermia, said Maj. John Wimsatt, head of the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game’s Enforcement Division.

The key thing that anyone who is going into the outdoors this time of year should remember, he said, is that “we’ve had a good amount of rain and most rivers are high; some are very high and there’s still some snow” on the upper slopes of the White Mountains that has not yet melted.

The East Branch of the Pemi on Thursday at Lady’s Bathtub was running high and fast, with an easily discernible current and eddies.

“At this time of year we recommend that people don’t enter the water,” said Wimsatt, noting it has many hazards, both on and below the surface.

Lady’s Bathtub is a town of Lincoln facility within the Riverfront Condominiums complex. A sign alerts visitors that there is no lifeguard on duty.

The small parking lot for the swimming area is located between two multi-unit residences; a path from it leads down to a wooden staircase that descends to large rock outcroppings on the west bank of the river.

On Thursday afternoon, Greg Ryan, a 32-year-old EMT from Cranston, R.I., said he, his girlfriend and their daughter were planning to go in for a swim.

He said he has been coming to the spot since childhood.

Ryan surveyed the shoreline of Lady’s Bathtub for places that, in his opinion, were safe.

“It’s a calculated risk,” he said, but also an opportunity to experience nature.

Marine Patrol asked that anyone with information about the drowning call the agency at 293-2037.

Public Safety Outdoors Lincoln

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