Thursday September 27, 2012

SHEFFIELD -- Authorities have identified the 67-year-old Chicopee man who drowned after his boat capsized on Threemile Pond on Tuesday.

A preliminary autopsy report determined that Richard Joly's death was consistent with a drowning, Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said Wednesday afternoon. More tests will be done to confirm the cause of death. Authorities on Tuesday had put Joly's age at 60.

Authorities on Wednesday also released the name of the man who survived. Joly's nephew, Edward Caisse III, 49, of Chicopee, swam to shore in the cold, murky water.

A hiker heard Caisse's cries for help and went to a nearby home to call 911. The unidentified hiker happened to be near the remote pond about 90 minutes after the boat flipped around 11:30 a.m.

Berkshire County and state police dive teams searched for Joly, who had been fishing with Caisse several hundred yards from shore.

Divers found Joly's body shortly after 6 p.m., not far from where the boat capsized in the center of the 168-acre pond.

An estimated 100 police, fire and other rescue personnel from Sheffield and several surrounding communities also responded, some bringing boats and cold water rescue equipment to help.

While rescuers searched for Joly, Caisse, who was visibly shaken by the ordeal, was treated at the scene, according to Sheffield acting Police Chief Eric Munson.


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"He was very upset, but relayed to us information about the other person in the boat," Munson said.

State police detectives assigned to the DA's office are heading up the investigation into the drowning, assisted by Sheffield police, Mass achusetts Environmental Po lice and other law enforcement agencies.

Threemile Pond, located off a dirt road more than a mile from Home Road, is part of the state wildlife management area owned by the Mass achusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. It is mostly known to local residents who like to hike and fish in the secluded area.

The pond was created in the 1960s when a dam was built and impounded Ironwork Brook, which feeds the broad, shallow body of water, according to Trails.com.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.