By Jon Dinan
FALLSBURG On Monday, Dylan Smith, 14, of Fallsburg drowned in a man-made pond that was roughly 25 feet deep. The pond, which is located in a quarry behind Old Falls Cemetery just off Route 42, formed as a result of flooding in an area where sand and gravel were once excavated.
Smith was with friends who were swimming and fishing at the spring-fed body of water, but Smith himself did not know how to swim.
According to local reports, one of Smith’s friends tried to rescue him after he fell in the water and began to struggle, but the attempt was unsuccessful.
“It’s very important to know your waterways and practice water safety to prevent tragedies like this from happening,” Fallsburg Fire Chief Rich Shaddock said.
The seven members of the Sullivan County Dive Team reached the scene at approximately 4:30 p.m. The body was recovered at about 7 p.m. The Fallsburg Fire Department, local police and various other emergency personnel also responded to the scene.
“My heart goes out to Dylan Smith's family from Fallsburg. I was lucky enough to coach him in the Youth league this past season and he was a great kid. He was always looking to learn more. I’m so sorry for the loss of a great kid to his family and our local community,” wrote Michael Greco of the Monticello Recreation Department on Smith’s Facebook page.
Greco, in a phone conversation, said Smith played at both levels in the Monticello Recreational Basketball League, which just completed its season.
“It’s a horrible situation. He was a good student. He was well-liked by other students, and he was a promising athlete,” Fallsburg CS Superintendent Ivan Katz noted.
The eighth grade BOCES student had plans to play on the Fallsburg CS basketball team.
FCS will be holding grief counseling sessions to assist those who were close to Dylan during their recovery. Anyone interested can call the school at 434-6800.