Men who drowned in Lawson Lake were county employees

— Albany County

A map of Lawson Lake and the surrounding park provided by Albany county’s website depicts hiking trails as well the county park’s border.

CLARKSVILLE — Two men who worked for Albany County drowned in Lawson Lake last Thursday. Their bodies were recovered from the small lake, located in a county park between Clarksville and Coeymans, on Friday afternoon.

According to Albany County Communications Director Mary Rozak, calls to her office regarding the incident began around 7:45 p.m. on Thursday. She added that the men’s bodies were recovered Friday afternoon. Both the State Police and the county sheriff’s department were involved.

According to Senior Investigator Chris Kopec, of the Albany County Sheriff’s office, the two men were fishing in Lawson Lake when witnesses say they saw the men’s boat capsize and two individuals trying to stay afloat before they disappeared from view. The witnesses called 911 and the sheriff’s department received a call to respond at 7:33 p.m. Thursday.

According to Kopec, patrolmen arrived shortly after the call was made, entering the water and swimming to the capsized boat but were unable to locate the two men. A marine patrol boat was brought in from the sheriff’s Clarksville station. The Coeymans and Coeymans Hollow Fire Departments, Ravena Rescue Squad, the Albany County Emergency Medical Services unit, and the New York State Police dive team were called in as well.

According to State Police public information officer Trooper Mark J. Cepiel, Troop G’s dive team responded to a request by the sheriff’s office on Thursday, arriving at the scene of the accident between 8 and 8:15 p.m.. The search was suspended when it became dark, and resumed at 8 a.m. Friday.

Kopec said the search was suspended at 1:18 a.m. on Friday and resumed at 8 a.m. that day. A side-scan sonar system operated by State Police allowed divers to locate a target area which they then searched and recovered the bodies from. According to Cepiel, the dive team recovered the men’s bodies on Friday and cleared the scene by 1:30 p.m. that day.

Kopec says the men were found in about nine feet deep water and had no flotation devices. The cause of death was determined to be accidental drowning.

Rozak confirmed that the two men who drowned were Michael R. Marshall, 52, who worked for the county’s department of public works, and Audley L. Sealey, 51, who worked for the county’s sewer district.

According to the county website, the lake is located within the 410-acre Lawson Lake County Park, which was revitalized in recent years by the county to be used for children’s day camps during the summer. According to the fishing website, the lake is about 40 acres in area.



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