Dan Hust | Democrat
ROSARIA MILITO IS inconsolable as she graps the fence separating her from the effort to recoer the body of her son, Carlo, who drowned here Sunday.
Three youth drown in Smallwood
By Dan Hust
SMALLWOOD Smallwood residents were in tears yesterday as they stopped along the shoreline of their community lake.
“This is just so horrible,” remarked one man inside his SUV, his voice cracking.
“Why would something like this happen here, in such a beautiful place on such a beautiful day?” asked another passerby as she watched five boats circling the center of Smallwood Lake.
Those were no fishing boats they were motorized rafts carrying emergency workers seeking the bodies of three young men who had drowned on Sunday.
According to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Gianfranco Generoso, Domenico Coluccio, Anthony Dupont and Carlo Milito all of Brooklyn were visiting family in Smallwood when they decided to take a small aluminum boat out for some fishing.
The lake, which is about 8 feet deep in that area, was around 49 degrees when one of the men stood up, leading to the boat capsizing.
Authorities said the four men struggled to swim to shore, but the weight of their heavy winter clothing and cold temperature of the water rapidly fatigued them. None were wearing lifejackets.
Only the 20-year-old Generoso, who managed to strip away some of his outerwear, made it to shore, aided by an unidentified Smallwood resident.
A woman walking her dog nearby heard the commotion and called police shortly after 1:30 Sunday afternoon, but by the time rescuers arrived, it had turned into a recovery effort.
Coluccio, 19; Dupont, 18; and Milito, 20, were dead.
Responders from area dive teams scoured the bottom of Smallwood Lake (also known as Mountain Lake) and recovered Coluccio and Dupont’s bodies later that afternoon. Milito’s was not found until yesterday morning.
The Sheriff’s Office, State Police (who sent a helicopter), Bethel Constabulary, Sullivan County Dive Team, Bethel Volunteer Ambulance Corps, MobileMedic, and fire departments from Smallwood-Mongaup Valley, White Lake, Kauneonga Lake, and Rock Hill responded to the scene, while neighboring departments served on standby.
Generoso was treated for hypothermia at Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris and released, returning later Sunday to aid the investigation.
Families of the victims also arrived, and the scene was a somber one yesterday morning as Milito’s sobbing family waited to hear what they already knew about the fate of their loved one.