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Another tragedy at Breakheart Reservation

Lynn man dies after trying to save family member

  Maynor Salas Lopez, age 21, received CPR soon after police found him unconscious and pulled him out of Silver Lake at Breakheart Reservation late last Sunday (July 17) afternoon. Armstrong Ambulance rushed him to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.

  Efforts by first responders to rescue and revive Lopez enabled him to receive emergency care at the hospital, where he was listed in critical condition overnight. But the 21-year-old Lynn man died Monday morning in what may be the latest drowning incident at Breakheart. Authorities have made no official ruling on the cause of death.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Mr. Lopez, who was at the reservation with family members, had entered Silver Lake for reasons still under investigation around 5 p.m. and began to struggle in the water. Saugus Police and State Troopers responded. Saugus Police Officers Thomas DiPietro, David Harris, and Jenna Fennelly located Mr. Lopez and pulled him from the water and first responders began performing CPR. Armstrong Ambulance transported Mr. Lopez to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital where he received emergency care but remained in critical condition. He passed away early this morning (July 18).

  At press time, State Police assigned to Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s Office continued to investigate the circumstances which led to Lopez entering the lake that is posted for “no swimming.” He was with family members, who told police he began to struggle in the water. Saugus Police Officers Thomas DiPietro, David Harris and Jenna Fennelly pulled him from the water, police said.

  “He was swimming in a spot that’s posted for ‘No Swimming’ and is not safe,” said Peter A. Rossetti, Jr., a member of The Friends of Breakheart Reservation.

  “I pulled somebody out of the same lake and did CPR on them more than 20 years ago. The person didn’t survive. It’s not a crowded area, because you’re not supposed to be swimming there. And there are no lifeguards,” he said.

  Rossetti also noted that the lake is about 15 minutes from the Visitors Center at Breakheart. “And you have to notify somebody to come if there is a potential drowning situation,” he added.

  “People have to be careful to make sure that they are swimming in areas that are safe and have lifeguards. They should stay out of posted areas where people aren’t supposed to be swimming,” Rossetti said.


Editor’s Note: The Saugus Advocate received the following statement at press time from Dave Procopio, Director of Media Communications of the Massachusetts State Police.



  “I reached out to one of our Troopers who was there at the scene, and based on what we know now, Mr. Lopez’s death is somehow even more tragic than what we initially released publicly. Full autopsy results are pending but he almost certainly died from drowning. He entered the lake to assist younger family members whom he believed were in distress in the water. They got out of the water, but he went into distress – we don’t believe he knew how to swim – and went under. He died a hero,” stated Procopio.

  “We also commend the Saugus officers who got him out of the water and began the attempt to save his life. Their efforts ensured that he at least was in a position to be transported so emergency room doctors could have a shot at saving him. Just a very sad story all around. There are so many drownings around the state every summer to which we respond. It is a horrible reality knowing we are going to have to respond to every year. We just posted a water safety video with our Colonel and the Colonel of the Environmental Police on our social media channels – one of numerous outreach efforts we undertake in regard to water safety. Here is a link – we shot it on one of our boats out in Boston Harbor: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ovou9fwiypmaxib/BeSmart%20BeSafeWaterSafetyPSA.mp4?dl=0

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