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Man dies in inaccessible site on Mass border


MT. WASHINGTON, MA—A Ghent man was killed when he slipped off a rock near Bash Bish Falls Friday night, July 28,

His body was located two days later, but cannot be recovered, according to authorities.

Aiden Campion-Pratt, 21, of Ghent was swimming with another person at a place north of the main falls. Other waterfalls cascade through the area, which was described as a gorge with 100-foot sheer rock drop-offs on either side and pools of water along the way.

Though there are trails north of the main falls, swimming is not permitted in the creek.

Mr. Campion-Pratt slipped off a rock and fell in at about 7:30 p.m.

The young man’s companion was able to tell rescuers where the “point of last contact” occurred according to Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett, who said he led the rescue team the initial night.

The sheriff said rescue teams and divers from the Copake and Hudson fire departments searched the waters coming from above and below and converging on the location where Mr. Campion-Pratt was last seen.

Sheriff’s Office diver Deputy Heath Benansky was lowered into one of the pools by means of a system of ropes rigged up by the Egremont Fire Department’s Low Angle Rescue Team.

He said the terrain up there is reminiscent of that on Mount Everest, with steep rock cliffs, crevices and ravines.

The sheriff said other rescuers searched surrounding terrain in case Mr. Campion-Pratt had made it out of the water and was able to circle around.

After 24 hours of heroic efforts rescue personnel on the scene located the body by means of an underwater camera” at about 12:30 Sunday afternoon, “but eventually came to the reluctant decision that because of the location retrieval would not be possible,” according to a press release from Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless.

Mr. Campion-Pratt’s body cannot be recovered not because of the water, but because of the dangerous terrain, said the sheriff, who estimated that more than 100 responders were involved in the search for Mr. Campion-Pratt, including helicopter pilots, firefighters, rescue squad personnel and divers.

Every one of them put their lives on the line,” said the sheriff, adding “it was heartbreaking not to be able to bring him back to his family.”

Obviously everyone involved is heartsick in the ultimate outcome,” DA Capeless said in the release. “These were great efforts, under difficult and dangerous conditions, that should be recognized, and I want to extend my personal thanks to the many agencies that worked together tirelessly. Special thanks goes to the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation personnel, the office of Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett and Berkshire County Sheriff Tomas Bowler for their leadership and determined efforts. So many agencies came together to work to one end that unfortunately could not happen.”

Those involved in the search and rescue effort included members of the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department, Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, the Pittsfield Fire Department, the Egremont Fire Department, the Southern Berkshire Ambulance squad, state troopers assigned to the Lee barracks, the New York State Police, the

Copake Fire Department, the Columbia County Fire Coordinator, the Berkshire County Fire Coordinator and Fastracs Excavating of Red Hook.

Bash Bish Falls is Massachusetts’ highest single-drop waterfall. Cascading water tumbles through a series of gorges and a hemlock-hardwood ravine forest, and then drops about 60 feet into a sparkling pool below. It is located in Bash Bish Falls State Park next to the 4,169-acre Mount Washington State Forest, which offers 30 miles of trails, including the South Taconic Trail and wilderness camping. They both adjoin New York’s 5,000-acre Taconic State Park, according to

Canaan man dies when truck collides with his motorcycle


CANAAN—A Canaan man was killed when his motorcycle collided with a tractor trailer at 12845 State Route 22, July 27 at 8:31 p.m.

Columbia County 911 dispatched State Police from New Lebanon to the accident scene.

Their investigation revealed that Mark A. Shaw, 36, of Canaan was operating a 1983 Harley Davidson motorcycle southbound on Route 22 when a 2011 Kenworth truck and trailer, operated by Wayne E. Quick, 46, of Rochester was making a left turn into Love’s Travel Plaza from the northbound lane.

Trooper Jared Webber and Canaan Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Frank Lill investigate at the scene of a fatal motorcycle versus tractor trailer accident in Canaan, July 27. Photo by R.E. Lindmark

Troopers report that the truck driver failed to yield to the right of way to the motorcycle and the two collided.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash was reconstructed by the State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit.

Also at the scene were members of the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit, SP Livingston Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Canaan and Red Rock volunteer firefighters and the Chatham Rescue Squad.

At this time, the collision remains under investigation and no tickets have been issued.

Firefighters were back in service 1:29 a.m., July 28.

New Lebanon

State Police criminal investigators from the Livingston barracks and troopers from New Lebanon arrested a man and woman in connection with an alleged kidnapping, July 27.

Charles L. Tabon, 38, of Pittsfield, MA, was charged with second degree kidnapping, a class B felony; first degree criminal use of a firearm; second degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony; second degree unlawful imprisonment, a class E felony, and second degree menacing, a class A misdemeanor.

Also arrested was Megan L. VanDeusen, 28, of New Lebanon, who faces charges of second degree kidnapping and first degree unlawful imprisonment.

Troopers were dispatched to check out a report of a female being held against her will at a residence in New Lebanon, July 27 at 12:50 a.m.

Their investigation revealed that the female victim was brought to the residence in New Lebanon from Pittsfield, MA, where an altercation then took place and she was menaced with a handgun.

Both defendants were arraigned in Claverack Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. They were scheduled to appear in New Lebanon Court at a later date.


Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigators charged a Greene County man in connection with a break-in at a Greenport business early Saturday morning, July 22.

Deputies Joseph Bruno and Thomas Merante were dispatched to a burglar alarm activation at the Pit Stop Beverage Store, State Route 66 at about 1:55 a.m.

Deputies found the front door smashed out. They searched the building and the surrounding area but were not able to locate a suspect. It was determined after the search that an undisclosed amount of cash had been stolen, according to press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

Sheriff’s Office investigators were called in and developed a suspect by looking a video surveillance footage. They subsequently located and interviewed the suspect, who made admissions during the interview about his involvement in the burglary, the sheriff said in the release.

Lionel Rushford, Jr., 42 of Athens was charged with third degree burglary, a class D felony; fourth degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, and petit larceny, a class A misdemeanor, by Sheriff’s Office investigators, July 24 at 3:50 p.m.

He was arraigned in Greenport Court before Justice Robert Gagan and was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. Mr. Rushford is scheduled to reappear in court at a later date.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.

Along with Deputies Bruno and Merante, investigating for the Sheriff’s Office were Senior Investigator Mark Dunspaugh, Investigators Anthony Brahm and Patrick Logue and K9 Deputy Travis VanAlstyne.

To contact Diane Valden email

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