Gowanda Volunteer Fire Department members of the District 1 Rope and Water Rescue team took part in two searches within the last week that both had unfortunate endings.
On its Facebook page Monday, the department said it was involved in a search before 3 p.m. Sunday for a 55-year-old male who was reported missing and had not returned home the prior day. The report noted the individual walked to Gowanda often from the Dayton area.
New York State Troopers started searching for the individual early on after the report and alerted fire personnel to help and assist them in conducting a larger area search. “Fire and Police presence could be seen all around the village and along the railroad tracks and Route 62 South of the village along Thatcher Brook,” the department said.
Team members and troopers searched the area which had a steep hill that traversed to the creek bed of Thatcher Brook along Route 62. Crews searched the hill side and creek bed area and located the individual at approximately 5:15 p.m. Officials believe the man fell approximately 150 feet along the steep embankment before succumbing to injuries.
The case is under investigation by the State Police and Cattaraugus County coroner’s office.
On Wednesday, the Gowanda team also assisted after an incident around 2:30 p.m. in the Cattaraugus Creek off the Route 219 bridge. Water team members along with sheriff’s personnel and swift water members from West Seneca Fire agencies traversed upstream from the Scoby Hill Dam to the Route 219 overpass to search and recover an individual. The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office and coroner is in charge of that investigation.
“Our sincere heart-felt condolences and prayers go out to the families affected by these tragedies,” the department said.