Body of Northfield swimmer Aaron Hoyt found in Smith River
The body of a 32-year-old Northfield man who disappeared last week while swimming in Bristol has been recovered near where he was last seen, authorities said.
Search officials found the body of Aaron Hoyt yesterday morning about a half mile below Profile Falls, a popular summertime destination on the Smith River. Hoyt was last seen treading water near the falls the evening of April 14.
The Fish and Game Department has not released a cause of death; an autopsy was scheduled for today. Officials have indicated that rain and heavy snowmelt made swimming conditions in the river especially dangerous last week, with rapid currents and water temperatures about 41 degrees.
The search for Hoyt began last Monday after two witnesses said Hoyt jumped from a 12-foot ledge into the water just below the falls and failed to make it back to shore. The search was suspended midweek due to rising water levels but was resumed Saturday.
As of yesterday, the water level in the Smith River had receded more than 30 feet from its high point Thursday, officials said.
Hoyt was a graduate of Winnisquam Regional High School and had delivered papers for the Monitor since 2012. He had been living with his father recently and had been engaged since the fall.
Fish and Game Lt. James Kneeland said there is no evidence Hoyt had been dared to jump into the water as part of a trend known as the “polar plunge,” but he knew of and had commented about it at the time. Hoyt was the only person to enter the water that night, Kneeland said.
In a statement, Kneeland urged swimmers to “take standard precautions, such as wearing a life jacket, and give the spring runoff a chance to occur before planning your water activities.”
(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman @cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)