Three young men from Brooklyn, ages 18-20, none of in which were wearing life vests, tragically died when the aluminum boat they were fishing from capsized in Smallwood Lake on October 19th. It was reported that one of the young boaters stood up causing their boat to flip over and send them into the 48 degree murky water. The three boaters desperately tried to swim to shore, but the frigid water temperature and their heavy winter clothing prevented them from making it. A fourth boater, age 20, was the only survivor due to the fact that he was aided by a resident who lives nearby and was able to strip off some of his heavy clothing he was wearing while swimming to shore. He was treated for hypothermia and released. This was the first drowning in this lake in over 15 years and the worst single drowning incident in Sullivan County history. We would like to express our deepest condolences to their families and our sorrow that their loved ones were taken from them so soon.
The Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department would like to thank all the responders that assisted us with the 2 day search efforts, including the New York State Police, New York State Police Dive Team, New York State Police Aviation Unit, Sullivan County Sheriffs Office, Bethel Police, Bethel EMS, Mobilemedic, White Lake FD, Kauneonga Lake FD, Rock Hill FD, Monticello FD, the Ramapo Rescue Dog Association, and of course the Sullivan County Dive Team.