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Man Deemed to Have Drowned in Bolton Potholes

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Police found a 20-year-old man unresponsive on July 4 at around 4:30 p.m. after jumping in the Bolton Potholes. Samuel Paprin, of Greenwich, Conn., was transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, where he was pronounced dead. Considered an apparent drowning death, Vermont State Police are still investigating, according to a release issued by Detective Trooper Matthew Chin.

Initial investigation led first responders to understand Paprin had been caught in the rapids while swimming, and then became unresponsive. The Vermont State Police was assisted by Richmond Rescue, the Richmond Fire Department, and the Bolton Fire Department. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Vermont State Police in Williston at 802-878-7111.

The Vermont River Conservancy, the organization that became the land manager of the area in 2018, responded with condolences. “Vermont River Conservancy is extremely saddened by the tragic death of Samuel Paprin. Our hearts break for the young man’s family and friends in Connecticut and Vermont. We are grateful to all who responded on the scene including State Police, Bolton Fire Department, Richmond Fire Department, and Richmond Rescue as well as the people on site at the time,” says Erin De Vries, conservation director of Vermont River Conservancy.

The conservation organization issued a press release stating “Bolton Potholes has been loved by generations of swimmers, but its turbulent waters can also be extremely dangerous. This is especially true when water is moving rapidly downstream after heavy rain, as was the case on July 4th. Swift currents in streams and brooks create foamy, bubbling water and challenge even the strongest swimmers.” The release goes on to state that the Vermont River Conservancy helped conserve Bolton Potholes in 2018, which also preserved public access to this privately owned land. The nonprofit organization works with safety officials to try to inform visitors of the dangers through signs, trail improvement, and education. Additionally, swimming holes in general are popular places that can be enjoyed safely if people are also aware of the hazards. For one thing, it is important to know your surroundings. They offer the following tips per vermontriverconservancy.org:

  • Avoid swimming 24 hours after a heavy rain.
  • Scan the area for any dangerous rocks, outcroppings, or human-made structures that may pose increased risk.
  • Look closely at the surface water. If there is a strong current or frothy water, do not go in.
  • Check the water temperature. Cold water drops core body temperature resulting in inability to control muscles.

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