Police: Man Drowned In Peekskill While Saving Niece

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The man who drowned in the Hudson River off of Peekskill Friday evening was a 52-year-old Garrison man, according to Westchester County officials.
The man who drowned in the Hudson River off of Peekskill Friday evening was a 52-year-old Garrison man, according to Westchester County officials. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. — The man who drowned in the Hudson River off Peekskill Friday evening was a Putnam County resident who had taken his nieces and nephew boating, county police said Saturday.

Westchester County Department of Public Safety spokesman Kieran O'Leary said the man pulled from the water was Christopher Baisley, 52, of Garrison, N.Y. 

At approximately 5:40 p.m. Friday, the captain of the Evening Star tour boat that departs from Peekskill observed a body floating in the water in the vicinity of Charles Point and contacted the U.S. Coast Guard via radio, O'Leary said.

"The Westchester County police marine unit heard that transmission over the Coast Guard radio when they were in the Verplanck area so they were able to get there quickly," O'Leary said. "The body was still in the water and the Evening Star crew was attempting to get to it when they arrived."

The 26-foot cabin cruiser boat that Beasley had been on was found a short time later and the three children on board were questioned.

Police now believe Baisley had taken his two nieces, ages 11 and 7, and a nephew, 7, tubing on the Hudson, and the 7-year-old girl was having some kind of difficulty in the water. Baisley jumped in the water and helped the children onto the boat, but then had some kind of difficulty staying afloat, O'Leary said.

"His friend and family told us he was a very good swimmer and everyone was surprised at the drowning because he had a familiarity with the river," O'Leary said.

All three children were wearing life preservers at the time of the incident as New York State law requires, O'Leary said. Beasley had a preserver on board for himself as the law required, but was not wearing it at the time of the accident. 

No alcohol was found on the boat and it is not believed to be a factor in the accident, O'Leary said. He said he was not sure if an autopsy was being performed on the victim.

"We're still unclear as to what caused him distress, but it seems like it's just an enormously tragic situation where an uncle takes his nieces and nephew out for a day of fun and then this happened," O'Leary said.

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