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HS Student Dies After Falling Into Hudson River

Watervliet High School student Matthew Billetts, age 16, died at Hudson Shores Park Monday, June 13.
Watervliet High School student Matthew Billetts, age 16, died at Hudson Shores Park Monday, June 13. Photo Credit: Watervliet City School District/Google Maps street view

Classmates are mourning the death of a high school student who died after falling into the Hudson River.

Albany County resident Matthew Billetts, age 16, died Monday afternoon, June 13, according to a statement from the Watervliet City School District.

He had been fishing with a friend and apparently suffered an unknown medical episode when he fell off the dock at Hudson Shores Park, News 10 ABC in Albany reports.

It took dive teams nearly an hour to recover the boy’s body, the outlet reports.

Billetts was a junior at Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School. His death came just 11 days before the end of the school year.

Classes at the school were delayed two hours on Tuesday, June 14, as word of his death spread. The school district said grief counselors would be on hand to support students and staff.

“We offer our deepest sympathy to Matthew’s family and friends and will continue to keep them in our thoughts and our hearts during this most difficult time,” the district said in a statement.

Watervliet Board of Education member Tim Delisle called Billetts a fixture in the community in a Facebook post announcing the boy’s death.

“On behalf of the Watervliet Board of Education, we would like to express our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Matthew Billetts,” Delisle said.

“You could always see him smiling, and riding his bike. He loved freeze pops at brotherhood park and had a great laugh. Our prayers are with everyone that knew Matt."

A candlelight vigil for Billetts was planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the high school's football field.

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