One man drowns, another in critical condition after incidents in Merrimack River

A 66-year-old Tyngsborough man was in critical condition and an unidentified man in his 50s drowned in Concord, N.H., after both men fell into the Merrimack River in separate incidents on Friday.

Alan Bell was hospitalized at Lowell General Hospital after his near-drowning in the river in Tynsborough, police said in a statement.

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Tyngsborough police were alerted when Bell’s wife called at 11:58 a.m. saying that her husband fell into the river near Frost Road Park . She had thought Bell was going swimming, but called police once he was missing.

Two police officers arriving first on the scene spotted Bell floating face-down in the water, 35 feet from a boat ramp. After pulling Bell out of the water, the officers administered CPR, police said.

The Tyngsborough Fire Department and medical personnel then arrived and took over medical aid procedures.

In the drowning incident, a witness called 911 just after 2 p.m. to report a man struggling in the Merrimack near the Sewalls Falls Recreation Area in Concord, Lieutenant Brian Saltmarsh of the Concord Fire Department said.

Saltmarsh said the man appeared to have been fishing.

“He went out and appeared to maybe lose his balance or get caught in the current, I’m not sure which,” Saltmarsh said.

Concord firefighters deployed two boats for the search, New Hampshire Marine Patrol provided another, and the state’s Fish and Game dive team searched the water for the man, Saltmarsh said.

The dive team ultimately located the body sometime before 6 p.m., he said. Saltmarsh said the man’s family had been notified, but he was not able to release his identity.

Saltmarsh said there had been multiple water-related safety incidents in the Merrimack and other New Hampshire waters in recent days.

“The river is way higher than normal for this time of year, so ... the currents are very dangerous,” Saltmarsh said. “It’s one of the things that, recreationally, people tend to underestimate the most is the power of water.”