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Police & Fire

ID Released For Drowning Victim At Area Lake

The identity of a man whose body was recovered in Oscawana Lake has been released by police.
The identity of a man whose body was recovered in Oscawana Lake has been released by police. Photo Credit: Putnam County Sheriff's Department

The identity of a man who drowned in a Hudson Valley lake while out boating with friends has been released by police.

Brooklyn resident Sydney Joseph, 46, was recovered on Monday, June 29, in Oscawana Lake, located in the town of Putnam Valley, said Putnam County Sheriff Robert L. Langley Jr. 

The search for Joseph began around 3:35 p.m., Saturday, June 27, when sheriff's deputies responded to the lake for a report of a potential drowning, the sheriff's department said.

When deputies arrived on the scene, members of the Putnam Valley Volunteer Fire Department reported that a man who was on a pontoon boat had entered the water around 3:30 p.m. and had not resurfaced.

Members from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department Marine Unit arrived on the lake and located the pontoon boat which had three men onboard.

According to the department, 43-year-old Thomas Muscianisi, whose family had a summer home in Putnam Valley, was the owner of the boat. The other occupants included Queens resident Michael Toledo, 34, of Howard Beach, and Nassau County resident Anthony Cotilletta, 42, of New Hyde Park.

"All men were visibly shaken and upset," the department said.

The four were friends and business partners and were out on the lake for a day of fun, officials said.

"At some point Mr. Joseph had jumped into the water with a square flotation device and without anyone noticing apparently went under the water and did not resurface again," the department said.

The friends immediately called for assistance.

First responders began a search with help from the Mahopac Falls Volunteer dive team and the Yorktown dive team. In addition, investigators from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department arrived to assist and begin an investigation.

Rescue efforts continued until late Saturday evening and resumed early Sunday, June 28, with the added help of the Westchester County Police helicopter, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, Ramapo Police Search and Rescue Team, and Putnam Valley VAC. 

The search continued early Monday, June 29, when, with the assistance of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Marine Unit, the New York State Police dive team located and recovered  Joseph around 11:18 a.m. 

"Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Joseph," the department said.

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