UMass community mourns death of student who drowned at Puffer's - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

UMass community mourns death of student who drowned at Puffer's Pond

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

We're learning new information about the man who died in Amherst last week.

21-year-old Jacob Johnson of East Bridgewater, was a senior journalism student at UMass Amherst.

His body was recovered from Puffer’s Pond on Friday evening.

Johnson was set to graduate in the fall, and was going to walk at graduation the end of this week with a bright future of journalism ahead of him, and now the people who knew him are left to mourn.
His body was recovered from Puffer’s Pond by the Massachusetts State Police Dive Team after several hours of searching.

“Jake was a valued member of our journalism community here. Our hearts really go out to his friends and family. Every professor who had him in class talked about what a smart student he was and a good student. We’ll really miss him,” said UMass Journalism Department Chair, Brian McDermott.
In an email sent to students Monday morning, professors described him as,"so intellectually curious and so interested in the first amendment issues that were important to me too. He cared about making a difference in the world, about the environment, about peace and everything that matters most."
Johnson worked as a student journalist at the Boston Globe, 

Another professor wrote,"he made my classroom a warmer, more thoughtful, and more interesting place every day he was there.”
As for the circumstances surrounding his death, the investigation continues. 

A spokesperson for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office said no foul play is suspected.

Assistant Amherst Fire Chief Jeffery Olmstead told Western Mass News Johnson was with a friend on Friday at the pond. 

“Duration in this incident was about four to four-and-a-half hours.That duration spoke to the fact that we had different information about where perhaps he went under water and the time it took to do a coordinated search of those areas," said Chief Olmstead. 
Puffer's Pond ranges in depth from 8 to 15 feet in some spots, and Olmstead said the water in Puffer's Pond is cold especially at this time of year, but it’s not yet clear if this detail played a role.

Again, the details remain under investigation.

For now, the Amherst Fire Department is asking people to remain cautious when swimming at Puffer's Pond.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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