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Crews resume search for man missing after Milford quarry jump

Man dies, boy hurt in separate water-related incidents

Dive teams searched a Milford quarry for a missing 18-year-old.

Lane Turner/Globe staff

Dive teams searched a Milford quarry for a missing 18-year-old.

MILFORD — Firefighters on Monday resumed a recovery operation at Fletcher Quarry, searching for an 18-year-old man who made the 50-foot jump into the water below and never resurfaced.

Officials have said they believe the young man is likely dead.

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He appeared to be among several victims of water-related accidents in New England during the weekend.

A 56-year-old man drowned in Governor’s Lake in Raymond, N.H., on Saturday, and a 10-year-old boy went into cardiac arrest Sunday while taking a swim test in a Milford public pool, police said.

The 18-year-old, who was not identified, and four friends traveled to the quarry off Walden Way from Rhode Island on Sunday. They were swimming in the privately owned quarry when the 18-year-old “hit the water funny and never came up,” said Jim Heron, deputy chief of Milford Police.

Rescue workers were called at 12:21 p.m., and divers and technical rescue crews searched for the missing teen for almost seven hours, authorities said. Aided by the State Police and their special equipment, crews planned to resume the search Monday morning.

The teen’s friends, two women and two men ages 17 and 18, were interviewed at the local police station, Heron said, before being returned to the quarry and questioned by State Police. The witnesses were brought back to point out exactly where the teen had jumped, Heron said, but police found them too distraught to give an accurate account of what happened.

Divers described a rugged underwater setting, with rocks and at least one vehicle with the potential to snag their gear. The sides of the quarry, which are sprayed with graffiti midway down, are largely vertical or near-vertical drops.

Milford has traditionally been known as a granite town, where its signature pink granite was quarried and shipped across the country for use in buildings, monuments, and bridges. The city’s industrial roots left behind many abandoned quarries.

Officials said Fletcher Quarry is one of a number of local quarries where people go seeking the thrill of a steep dive. There are several signs leading to the quarry indicating it is private property; it is owned by the Waldenwoods Condominium Association, according to several members.

Milford Deputy Fire Chief Bill Touhey said out-of-state visitors are not uncommon at Fletcher Quarry, where several accidents have occurred in recent years. Deputy Fire Chief Mark Nelson, also of Milford, said police try to tow vehicles parked along the road leading to it, when it is evident they belong to thrill-seekers.

In 2007, a Framingham teenager drowned in a Milford quarry after falling from a cliff. At the time, it was the town’s third quarry-related death in the preceding 12 years.

The 56-year-old who drowned in Raymond, N.H., was identified Sunday as M. Lee Ribblett of Raymond. He went into the lake Saturday to fetch his canoe that had drifted offshore, New Hampshire State Police said in a statement.

A witness saw Ribblett struggling in the water and swam out, bringing him back to shore where he performed CPR, police said.

Ribblett was pronounced dead at Exeter Hospital; State Police are investigating but said it does not appear that foul play or alcohol were factors.

The 10-year-old who was injured in Milford was taking a test so he could swim in the deep end at the Fino Field Pool about 12:15 p.m. when adults supervising him noticed he appeared to be under stress, Heron said.

The boy was pulled out of the pool and taken to University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester where he was reported in critical condition, Heron said. Authorities said they believe a preexisting medical condition caused the boy’s episode.

Globe correspondents Nicholas Jacques and Melissa Hanson contributed to this report. Faiz Siddiqui can be reached at faiz.siddiqui@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @faizsays.

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