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Body of missing jet skier located in Connecticut River

By Duncan MacLeanEmma McCorkindale,

2023-05-30

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Police have located the body of the jet skier that has been missing in the Connecticut River since Sunday.

Crews searching for missing jet skier in Connecticut River in South Hadley

The missing jet skier has been identified as 51-year-old Carlos Lopez of Springfield. Police located his body around 1:00 p.m. Tuesday a short distance from the accident in the Connecticut River in Easthampton. His body has been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

State Police Spokesperson Dave Procopio told 22News there was a crash on Sunday around 7:00 p.m. between a jet ski and a boat. Officials from numerous police departments searched the river Sunday through Tuesday along with Massachusetts Environmental Police and local public safety agencies for the missing jet skier.

Personnel and equipment from a number of local fire and police departments, including South Hadley, Chicopee and Northampton, both the Hampshire and Hampden County Sheriff’s departments, and state police all participated in the third day of the search.

22News spoke with the head of the state’s underwater recovery unit about their strategy now more than 36 hours after the crash.

“We have side-scan sonar going again, 16 divers, eight boats. We started at the site of the boat accident the first night. The next day, we came back and start expanding out again. And the third day we will do the same thing, start at the boat accident and expand out further and further,” said Dive Team Commander Danny Popovich.

The man and woman on the boat were taken to Baystate Medical Center for serious injuries. Crews pulled the boat out of the river Monday morning, damage could be seen along the side. Easthampton Police have closed the Route 5 boat ramp due to the investigation.

PHOTOS: Connecticut River Search Operation

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According to the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, witnesses reported that Lopez was wearing a life jacket at the time of the crash.

“This is unfortunately the kind of incident which we created the Marine Patrol Unit to help with,” said Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi. “While we try to prevent dangerous situations from happening in the first place, helping in the aftermath is part of the job. Our thoughts are with those affected by this accident, especially the family of Mr. Lopez.”

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

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Duncan MacLean is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2019. Follow Duncan on Twitter @DMacLeanWWLP and view his bio to see more of his work.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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