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17-year-old swimmer drowns in Squannacook River in Groton

A 17-year-old boy drowned Wednesday in the Squannacook River near the Bertozzi Wildlife Management Area in Groton, officials said.

According to a preliminary investigation, a group of five friends were jumping in and out of the river from a rope swing when the teen went underwater at 3:19 p.m. and did not resurface, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office said.

Fire Department personnel found the boy at 4:32 p.m. and he was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His identity was not released.

The river was high from recent heavy rain and there was a strong current, officials said.

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It was the latest in a spate of drownings in recent months, as warm weather and the lifting of pandemic-era restrictions has led many to cool off at local beaches, pools, and ponds, sometimes without lifeguards present.

There were 18 drowning deaths in Massachusetts in May, more than the previous three Mays combined. Additional tragedies followed in June, including the death of a Worcester police officer who drowned trying to save a teenage boy.

There have been further drownings this month, beginning with the July 1 death of 19-year-old Joao Alves Teixeira of Boston after he went missing in Pleasure Bay in South Boston while swimming with his 20-year-old brother. On July 13, an 11-year-old Lowell girl who had been pulled from the Merrimack River died.

On Wednesday, a retired State Police detective captain and his wife were charged with providing alcohol to minors and endangering a child in connection with the apparent drowning of 17-year-old Alonzo J. Polk IV at the couple’s home.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.