Administrator says swimming was barred at Mount Beacon

A 34-year-old Beacon man drowned on Tuesday (July 5) while swimming in the Mount Beacon Reservoir at night, Town of Fishkill police said on Wednesday.

A caller to 911 reported the man, whose name was not released, missing at around 9:20 p.m., according to Fishkill police, Emergency responders, using a drone with thermal imaging supplied by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, searched until 1:30 a.m. and then resumed later on Wednesday morning. State police divers found the man’s body about 30 feet offshore, said police.

Chris White, Beacon’s city administrator, said that signs are posted warning people that swimming and fishing are prohibited, along with trespassing. “We will review this incident, but have no plans at this time to institute changes,” he said.

For more than a century, Penelope Hedges’ family has owned hundreds of acres along Mountain Lane, which leads to Mount Beacon Monument Road, the winding dirt road that runs to the reservoir. Hedges said she heard a Jeep, with passengers yelling, drive up Mountain Lane around 9 p.m. on Tuesday. “Within an hour, the ambulance was coming,” she said.

Hedges suspects a lethal combination of drugs, alcohol and trespassing may have led to the drowning.

She said that joyriders frequently drive past her home, trespassing onto Mount Beacon Monument Road, which is owned by the state Parks Department.

“Somebody has to do something to get the public’s attention,” she said. “People come from out of town and swim in our drinking water. It’s like the Wild West here.”

In addition to Fishkill police, state troopers and Dutchess County deputies, the search was aided by Beacon police and personnel from the Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Dutchess Junction Fire Department. 

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Simms has covered Beacon for The Current since 2015. He studied journalism at Appalachian State University and has reported for newspapers in North Carolina and Maryland. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Beacon politics