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Divers recover man's body from Turtle Pond

Update: WFXT identifies the man as Jason Peri Bonilla of Roxbury.

State Police reported shortly after 8 p.m. that divers had recovered the body of a 19-year-old Boston man from Turtle Pond in Stony Brook Reservation.

The man had been reported missing around 5 p.m. after he'd gone into the water of the popular, if not legal, swimming hole.

Boston Fire and State Police divers took turns searching the bottom of the murky, roughly 18-foot deep pond.

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Comments

That’s why people who grew up in the area don’t swim there. Can remember, ever summer, someone from Beach Street Projects would drowned there.

The news/ or word on the street was they would get their legs wrapped in weeds, freak out and drowned.

Sad!

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Voting closed 30

The pond is a popular, if not legal, swimming hole.

I've counseled people here and elsewhere that the DCR bans swimming at Turtle Pond due to past drownings, but popular responses often say, "I've never seen a problem so there is no problem, so I will continue to swim there."

I'm old enough to remember at least a half-dozen drownings there and a couple of random bodies (murders) elsewhere in the woods.

The annual forest fires are legendary.

Hopefully this search doesn't turn up anyone. It would be a terrible tragedy.

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Voting closed 36

I grew up here and am shocked every time I drive by the pond. No one, no one should be swimming there, it is not safe,

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And don't forget about the periodic outbreaks of high bacteria levels.

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Why would this pond be particularly dangerous? Are there weeds people get tangled in or something?

If you're drunk, or swimming alone at night past your ability, any pond is dangerous. If you just take a dip near the shore, not much can happen.

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It's dangerous because it's murky, muddy, full of vegetation, rocks, submerged debris, 17 feet deep, no visibility, no lifeguards. Multiple multiple reasons.

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Murk, mud, depth, visibility, and lack of lifeguards wouldn't make this pond much different than any other body of water.

Debris or i guess vegitation, could potentially entangle someone. Maybe.

I'd love to hear what actually causes deaths at this pond. Lack of vis isnt the reason.

. It's dangerous because it's murky, muddy, full of vegetation, rocks, submerged debris, 17 feet deep, no visibility, no lifeguards. Multiple multiple reasons.

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Similar reasons as Jamaica Pond, except more remote and dirtier.

https://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/2020/07/13/no-swimming-in-jamaica-...

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I read the article, including the part that said that large numbers of people used to swim in the pond until swimming was banned after two drownings in the 1970s

And I thought about how weird and innumerate and irrational our policy responses to risk tend to be.

And I imagined an alternative article that said, “large numbers of people used to drive cars on the jamaicaway, until the road was closed to cars after two fatal motor vehicle crashes in the 1970s.”

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Leads to more mayhem when people need to cool off?

That very murkiness seems to be the result of "don't want to crack down on all the chemicals sprayed on lawns", among other issues of pollution, sewage leaking, class, race, etc. that define who gets to swim and who doesn't.

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I don't give your theory much credibility given the location of the pond.

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Cars used to be able to drive on the Arborway (a short distance from Jamaica Pond) at I believe 40, but if I'm wrong definitely 35 MPH. Thousands of cars would drive along this road at that speed with little problem. Then there were a few fatal crashed, no doubt involving vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit, so the response was to lower the speed limit. Now the speed limit is 25.

At the end of the day, this is how governments respond to crises. If there are a spate of deaths, they respond. Banning people from swimming where the depth of the water is an issue as is the lack of life guards isn't an irrational response, any more than lowering a speed limit after a series of crashes is.

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Banning people from swimming where the depth of the water is an issue as is the lack of life guards isn't an irrational response, any more than lowering a speed limit after a series of crashes is.

It's pretty obvious what theory of government and policymaking justifies speed limits: the roads are a shared public resource, and people driving too fast endanger every other user of the resource. Speed limits and enforcement thereof benefit me as a road user. I need to obey the speed limits if I want to benefit from living in a world in which people generally obey the limits.

It's a little less clear how handing over to the government the right to stop me from swimming in a given pond benefits me in any analogous way. Yes, I understand that if people swim recklessly I'm on the hook to pay rescue costs, to care for the indigent orphans left behind by careless swimmers, etc., but that's a much more tenuous connection than the speed limits example.

Also, as has been pointed out here several times, the depth of the water is not a safety issue; 7 feet, 70 feet, and 700 feet are all equally safe or equally unsafe.

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In addition to possibly preventing your death, if the no swimming rules were obeyed, your tax dollars would not be going towards searching for, and in a best case scenario, saying someone who drowns in these areas.

I'm still trying to figure out how making me drive 25 on a road designed to be used safely at 40* as well as being a road driven by thousands of drivers at said speed has a benefit for me. My guess is that the answer is similar to why governments ban swimming at unsafe areas.

*I am assuming that the drivers are not under the influence, distracted, or trying to go at the engineered speed when the weather should tell them to slow down.

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I'd love to hear what actually causes deaths at this pond. Lack of vis isnt the reason.

Well, if you take the trouble to look at accident reports, you will no doubt find some answers. Your opinion notwithstanding, "lack of vis" can absolutely be part of the problem.

When I was young, a friend of mine drowned while trying to get golf balls out of a water hazard at a golf course. Golfers would pay kids to try and retrieve their balls. The pond had a mucky bottom; his legs sank into it and became entrapped, with his head below the surface. Other kids with him at the time tried to rescue him and were unable to do so. So, maybe put your "naaah, couldn't be that" on hold for a bit.

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Voting closed 27

The lack of a safe swimming area in this pond doesn't make it any more dangerous than which other ponds? Ones that also lack safe swimming areas?

There is rarely a single factor that would make a pond dangerous to swim in, but there are many factors that contribute towards or against safety. Most of the factors that promote safety have to be deliberately created: bottom clear of hazardous objects, safe depths, acceptable water quality and adequate supervision are all factors that need to be deliberately added to a natural pond to make it safer for swimming.

My own experience, working with the Scouts, having worked at a BSA summer camp, having been a certified BSA Lifeguard once upon a time, we use a lengthy set of guidelines to promote safe swimming, I encourage you to read up on how we have long kept our swimming areas safe. https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2021/06/10/what-constitutes-a-safe-swi...

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It never struck me as particularly dangerous other than the fact that stuff happens in water, especially (not in this case) where people hang out drinking, etc.. Like, the Jamaica Pond is off limits for swimming just because it's too easily accessible but not because it's particularly dangerous, right?

Agreed that I hope for the best of course.

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So Sad. Not sure about Turtle Pond, but Jamaica Pond is really dangerous. It looks great to swim in, but there are areas that suddenly drop to 50 feet deep, and lots of branches and weeds to get tangled up in.

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A comment above says that Turtle Pond isn't safe because it is shallow?

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The UHub gnomes run the duplicator

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Jamaica Pond gets over 50 feet deep which is pretty scary

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I never thought much about it, but per the Navionics Webapp, it drops pretty quickly, with its deepest point at 53 feet.

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Really anything over 7 feet deep is probably equally dangerous if you can't swim and equally safe if you can. People die at Houghton's pond which is a 'swimming' pond yearly so I just have a hard time with the concept of a dangerous pond vs. don't go in ponds if you can't swim, that's all.

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Unless we are talking about supervised swimming areas with lifeguards, in which case depth complicates rescue, why is a pond that is 50 or 500 feet deep any more dangerous than one that is 9 feet deep?

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Everyone should learn to swim. Period. If you can't swim, stay out of the water. Period.

A pond or lake with a sudden drop off is only dangerous if you cannot swim. As noted above, if you can swim, 7 feet and 150 feet are equally safe. The idea that Jamaica Pond is unsafe because it drops off quickly is bogus.

(Note: This is not a comment about this tragedy at Turtle Pond.)

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Lots of people do not know how to swim and still enjoy being in water
You do need to know how to tread water, dog paddle, keep calm and not take unnecessary risks such as going far from the shore or staying too long in cold water.
Flotation devises are helpful too.

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Turtles maybe? There are a lot of snapping turtles there.

Most drowning are when you panic and get more tangled.

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Fear of snapping turtles has always been an effective deterrent to boys skinny dipping.

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A 19 year old’s body was found around 7:45pm.

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I wonder how much this youngster knew about water safety.
No Swimming signs may have prevented some deaths but better public water safety education might help too. People are always going to be tempted to take a dip in cool water on summer days.

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No swimming signs, and while we at it, maybe install stop signs and speed limit signs.

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… there already. My point is that these signs in general have probably prevented some drownings but they aren’t enough. People need to know why no swimming is permitted.

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Lots of things get signed "no swimming" when that isn't exactly rational - like the boat ramp at upper mystic lake where there are people around at pretty much all daylight hours using the boat ramp and can get to anyone with a life jacket in hand in seconds. I used to take my tub kayak out there, paddle a short ways out, then "pretend to roll". When a Statie grumped at me I told him I was practicing my wet exit and reentry techniques, just like the Tufts Boat Club special people with sails practice their escapes.

Meanwhile, the demand for swimming at Shannon Beach keeps going up up up as hot days pile up in strings, while DCR keeps fucking over the facilities, ignoring the trash cans, reducing hours, and otherwise trying to exclude people who have higher melanin on display than maybe some locals would like to see. By patrolling and signing active places with people around with boats and PFDs on hand, it pushes people into the forested shoreline areas. Hence the drownings in and around the beach where families gather to be together and cool off.

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“By patrolling and signing active places with people around with boats and PFDs on hand, it pushes people into the forested shoreline areas.”
Hadn’t thought of that. Probably also why some people wait till after dark to swim so they won’t get in trouble. But maybe end up in a different kind of trouble.

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Lots of things get signed "no swimming" when that isn't exactly rational - like the boat ramp at upper mystic lake where there are people around at pretty much all daylight hours using the boat ramp and can get to anyone with a life jacket in hand in seconds.

The other thing that can get to a swimmer in seconds is the hull of a boat, which when applied to a swimmer's head tends to decrease their buoyancy. This is a much more likely outcome if the swimmer insists on swimming near a boat ramp.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, and which should surprise exactly nobody, different hazards are hazards for different reasons.

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That particular ramp is a cartop only ramp. Boats with motors are limited to low hp electric only.

So not your typical motor boat space - with an adjacent beach for landing kayaks.

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There's a subtlety to any discussion of "should we, in fact, give government the right to stop us from swimming in a naturally occurring pond on public land?" that neither the libertarian nor the statist crowds will acknowledge.

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Back in the sixties the urban legend was that Turtle Pond was bottom less.
.

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