WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)–Search crews have found the body of the missing swimmer they were searching for since Saturday evening.
Westfield Police Lt. Lawrence Valliere told 22News the State police Underwater Recovery Team found the body of 28-year-old Luis Robbles, from Springfield, at about 10:30 Sunday morning. Lt. Valliere said Robles was found about 100 yards away from where he was reported being seen struggling in the water Saturday evening. That’s when he was first reported to be missing somewhere in the section of Westfield River, near Hanover Street.
Saturday evening Westfield Police and Fire Department, State Police Airwing, and State Police Underwater Recovery Team started their search for Robles, but was forced to put it on hold during the overnight hours. The searches resumed at 8 o’clock Sunday morning.
Members of Robles’s family gathered early Sunday morning where search crews were working. Several family members were hugging, praying, and crying while they waited for information from police. Some family members told 22News Robles had been married for about two years.
“It’s very sad. It’s a sad day. It’s tragic for anybody to loose their life, I just feel sorry for the family and friends,” Hanover Street resident, Keith Cromack told 22News. Cromack said it’s very common to see groups of people swimming in the same spot where Robles was found… there’s even a make shift rope swing tied to a tree in that same area.
“I didn’t think it was that deep, because a lot of times you can see the sandbars even out in the middle, so I thought you could walk across it, but if the river is high obviously you can’t,” Cromack said.
State Police Underwater Recovery Team told 22News that in situations like this where the water they are searching in is fairly shallow, they used a team of four different divers in a rotation so that each individual diver was in the water for about an hour at a time.
As temperatures continue to climb through out the summer, neighbors to the popular swimming spot said this situation will have them watching those waters more closely.
“It is scary sometimes because the river does pick up and you get a good current that comes through. There are 12 and10 year olds I’ve seen trying to swim across here. I mean they make it but… it is a tragedy that this happened,” Tom Cefartti, from Westfield, said.
The easily accessible section of river is not marked as a no-swimming zone, but Westfield police told 22News it is not a designated swimming area.
Police urge residents to only swim in places that are public swimming areas armed with lifeguards… as river waters are unpredictable and can be extremely dangerous.