ELLENBURG — A 72-year-old Quebec man drowned Thursday after falling in a river while taking pictures, police said.
Ronald Cayne of Conte St. Luc, Quebec and a friend, Sholom Sirussi, of Quebec, were taking photographs of the North Branch of the Great Chazy River, said State Police Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. Brent Davison.
“We believe that (Cayne) was standing on the riverbank using camera equipment, including a tripod, and he slipped and fell 15 feet into the water,” he said.
Cayne and Sirussi had begun their day at the Ace Rod and Gun Club on Cold Spring Road in Ellenburg and had split up, planning to meet back there between 1 and 1:30 p.m., the lieutenant said.
“They were both avid photographers.”
When Cayne didn’t return to their meeting place, Sirussi began looking for him, honking his car horn to try to get his friend’s attention, Davison said.
“He searched for almost a full hour and then decided, at 2:28 p.m., ‘I need to get some help because something is wrong.’”
It was then that Sirussi called 911 and flagged down a passerby for help, Davison said.
They found Cayne near the riverbank west of Lake Roxanne, about 35 feet downstream from where his camera equipment was found, Davison said, and police arrived a short time later.
It is believed Cayne fell from a spot directly above where his camera equipment was located, he said.
Investigators had not determined exactly what time he fell, he said.
No autopsy was performed because of Cayne’s religious beliefs, Davison said. But on Friday at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh, Dr. Deonarayan Saha performed a gross examination of Cayne’s body and determined he died of freshwater drowning.
Clinton County Cornoner David Donah, who was called to the river Thursday afternoon, determined the manner of death to be accidental, Davison said.
No criminal activity is suspected in Cayne’s death, he said.
“There were no signs of foul play at the scene.”
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