Updated 06/18/2012 09:42 PM
Family remembers Fair Haven drowning victim
Just one day after an Oswego man drowned after jumping off a pier at Fair Haven State Park, his family is reflecting on his short life and the incident that ended it. Our Candace Hopkins has more from our Oswego newsroom.
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OSWEGO, N.Y. -- Just one day after 27-year-old Marcos Peralta drowned while swimming at Fair Haven State Park, his family is remembering his short life.
"He's always right there close to us, you know, and he'd rather be with his family then wandering around, you know," said Marcos' father, Antonio Peralta.
Nearly the entire Peralta family had gathered for a Father's Day barbecue Sunday at the park. It was just after five o'clock when several members of the group decided to go for one last swim in the lake, jumping off the pier.
"Everybody was jumping off, my husband, I didn't even see Marcos jump in and I seen him struggling and gasping for air, so I went to him to try to help him and he grabbed me by my hair and took me underneath the water with him and I felt like I was gonna go," said Amy Phillips, Marcos' sister-in-law.
Phillips and several other relatives eventually pulled Peralta to safety, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at Oswego Hospital. Now his family is left wondering why he would even consider jumping in the water, knowing he didn't know how to swim.
"It's so sad, if I could've went, I guess I was the only one who knew he didn't know how to swim, I could've told him, you know, no, you don't know how to swim, what are you doing," said Alicia Phillips, Marcos' sister.
"We were just enjoying ourselves, they went to get a dip and come back, but the only one who didn't come back was my son," said Marcos' father, Antonio Peralta.
Swimming is only allowed at Fair Haven in the beach area where lifeguards are on duty and the pier where Peralta died is lined with no swimming signs, but investigators say people constantly ignore the warnings.
"In the summer when it’s hot, people are gonna find water and they're gonna swim. Whether it's unsafe or not, you've just gotta use your head and you've gotta be reasonable. Just because there's no swimming signs doesn't mean people are going to do it, ‘cause they are," said Cayuga County Sheriff David Gould.
For the Peralta family, they say it will be a long road ahead without Marcos and so many questions left unanswered.
The Cayuga County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate this incident and is asking anyone who may have witnessed it to call them at (315) 253-3545. Ask for Detective Schenck.