Body of drowning victim, 24, recovered from Lake Paran

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BENNINGTON — An overnight search effort led to recovery of the body of a drowning victim at Lake Paran Wednesday morning.

Police identified the victim as Harlan Kip, 24, of Bennington. His family has been notified.

At around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Bennington Police, the North Bennington Fire Department and Bennington Rescue were called to Lake Paran after a report of a man in the water on the pavilion side of the lake who couldn't swim, according to a press release from the Bennington Police Department.

The North Bennington Fire Department was first at the scene and began searching, while Bennington Fire Department and Bennington Rural were also dispatched to help locate the victim, said the release.

Search efforts continued throughout the night and into the morning hours, but night operations were suspended from about 1:30 a.m. to 5 a.m., according to the release. Bennington Police and North Bennington Fire personnel remained on scene throughout the night.

According to Bennington Police Lt. Cam Grande, approximately 75 to 100 volunteers worked "well into the night" in the search effort..

At 10:34 a.m. Wednesday, the victim was found by Vermont State Police scuba divers a short distance from the docks where he was last seen, Grande said. The dive team removed the body from the lake and turned it over to the medical examiner.

At least six or seven members of the Vermont State Police scuba team assisted in the search effort Wednesday morning, Grande said.

Grande says the 911 caller was a female friend of the victim who accompanied him to the lake that evening. Grande also said that, while calling 911, she could be heard screaming for help, and two young men who were fishing nearby came over to search but could not find the victim.

Several New York fire departments also assisted with the search, and at some points there were up to five boats in the lake searching for the victim, the press release stated.

Grande says there was "no indication" of drug or alcohol use at the scene. The death is not considered suspicious, he said.

"It's an unfortunate incident," he said.

Detective Sgt. Larry Cole is leading the investigation and continues to interview those who may have additional information on the drowning. Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to call the Bennington Police Department at 802-442-1030.

Lake Paran was closed on Wednesday, and is expected to reopen Thursday.

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.




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