Cold Spring, NY – Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports that divers recovered the body of a drowning victim from the Hudson River this evening, some two hours after companions saw him go under the water while swimming off Little Sandy Beach in the Hudson Highlands State Park.
Police have identified the victim as Mr. Rafael Cubano, age 46, of the City of Beacon. According to preliminary reports, at about 4:30 PM Tuesday, Mr. Cubano was with a group of relatives and friends who were swimming together in the river in an area not protected by lifeguards. According to his companions, the victim became separated from them by the strong river currents, and he became distressed in the water. He called out for help, but went under the water before any of the companions could reach him.
Police said a witness called 911 on a cell phone and sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene. A search of the river and shoreline ensued, involving Sheriff’s Office patrols and marine unit, State Police patrols and helicopter, State Park Police patrols and marine unit, Cold Spring Police, Cold Spring Fire Department, West Point Fire Department and aviation unit, Philipstown Ambulance Corps, the Mahopac Falls Fire Department and its Dive Team, a Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office marine unit, and Westchester County Police marine unit.
Police said at 6:47 PM this evening, members of the Mahopac Falls Fire Department Dive Team recovered Mr. Cubano’s body about 150 feet from shore, in a depth of about four feet of water. The Putnam County Coroner’s Office pronounced the victim dead and ordered an autopsy to be performed.
Sheriff Smith called the death “a horrific and sad tragedy for the family and friends who witnessed the drowning and who have lost their loved one.” He said the death was yet another grim reminder of the terrible risk involved in swimming in places without lifeguards.