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Authorities identify 19 year-old Ripley Beach drowning victim

Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 18:54:44-04

RIPLEY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office has identified the 19 year-old man who drowned while cliff-jumping Thursday evening as Alex Musser of Waterford, PA.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and Westfield Police responded to an area of Ripley Beach Thursday around 6pm for the report of a male in distress in Lake Erie.

Captain Richard Telford said cliff jumping at Ripley Beach is seen as a tradition for some in the area.

Investigators found that four people had gone to the beach to cliff jump into the lake, but the waters were very rough at the time.

Musser and another 19-year-old had jumped into the water.

"One of the teenagers was clinging on to some rocks, and was rescued from that location," said Captain Telford.

Telford said weather is to blame for this tragedy.

He said the waters were rough and the waves were strong, and instead of being able to swim the west side where there's a beach, the current swept the two men over to the east side, which is a rocky area.

Musser's body was recovered Friday morning at 10:20 a.m., 100 yards away from the location of the incident.

Telford said the lake waters were so rough they could not recover Musser's body Thursday evening.

He said the cliff area is a hidden spot off of Route 5 and is private property, but locals find a way to get there every summer.

Musser's body is now at ECMC for an autopsy. The sheriff's office says there was no foul play involved and no charges will be filed.