Autopsy Planned For Norwalk Boater Who Died In Long Island Sound

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Norwalk Police Lt. Paul Resnick answers questions Monday at Calf Pasture Beach.
Norwalk Police Lt. Paul Resnick answers questions Monday at Calf Pasture Beach. Photo Credit: Eric Gendron

NORWALK, Conn. -- An autopsy is expected to be performed on a Norwalk man who drowned during a Memorial Day fishing trip on a canoe near Calf Pasture Beach, police said Tuesday.

State Police using “sophisticated sonar equipment” found the body in about 12 feet of water overnight Monday close to where the cane sank in Long Island Sound, said Norwalk Police Lt. Paul Resnick.

“There were no visible signs of trauma on the body.” Resnick said. The body has been turned over to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, he said.

Police did not release the man’s name nor do they intend to until the man's next of kin has been notified, said Resnick.

The Hour newspaper identified the man as Mauro Godinez Pineda, 40, a Norwalk resident originally from Guatemala. 

The victim was with three other men who left Norwalk's Calf Pasture Beach at 12:20 p.m. Monday, heading for Calf Pasture Island in a two-person canoe with fishing gear and a cooler containing beer, Resnick said. Two successive waves washed into the overloaded canoe, tossing the four men into the water, he said.

“The vessel designed for two has four, plus gear, so it was sitting low in the water,” Resnick said. “A wave comes by and water comes over the bow. A second wave comes by, more water comes over the bow, so it sinks. All four men go in the water, and panic ensues, and it goes downhill from there.”

The beer in the canoe had not been opened, Resnick said.

The man who died was not related to the other three individuals, Resnick said.

Numerous 911 calls were made by people who witnessed the scene. Three of the men were pulled from the water a short time later by members of the Norwalk Fire Department. Two of the three men were wearing life jackets. However, the man who died did not have a life jacket and did not know how to swim, Resnick said.

Resnick did not have details on the three men who survived the plunge into the water. They declined to go to the hospital and were released at the scene, he said. They didn’t suffer any injuries other than being in the chilly water, which had temperatures in the high 50s at the time of the accident, Resnick said.

The investigation was continuing. Police have not pressed any charges or issued tickets in connection with the boating fatality, Resnick said.

Read more about the accident here in the Daily Voice. 

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Wonder if the autopsy will measure what the B.A.C. is in his blood.

I hope others with low, open vessels learn from this tragedy. I used to own a 3-person kayak, (meant for flat water such as lakes and rivers) which we only took out on the Sound on very calm mornings, and we stayed close to shore. We all wore life vests, even though two of us were competent swimmers. I knew the Sound could kick up in the afternoon with the winds and it would be too much for our vessel. Two keys to safety: don't overestimate your abilities, and don't underestimate the winds and the water. And if you're not wearing a life vest, you could be asking for trouble.

4 missing
3 recovered alive by the Norwalk Fire Department
1 Body recovered by the State Police
ZERO recovered by the Norwalk Police Department as usual.

Maybe the de-funding process of the Norwalk Police Department should begin with the Marine Division. Its pretty clear the NPD is a failure at everything that they attempt.

The take away I get from this incident and many past incidents it that none of the local towns need these boats and the added crew. They are town sponsored pleasure craft for our entitled class.

I think it is disgusting that the Hour and this paper choose to disclose the man's name when his next of kin have not yet been notified. This is shoddy, insensitive journalism. Further, the article does not even state correctly whether there were 3 or 4 other people in the canoe. That's lousy editing on top of shoddy journalism. Seriously, Ridgefield Daily Voice you should be ashamed of yourself and apologize to your readers and pledge you will not do this again.