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Vermont man's body found in Lake Champlain

New York State Police divers return to the Westport Boat Launch with the body of Michael L. Mindell Monday, July 29. Mindell had been swimming with friends at the Palisades Cliffs when he attempted to dive from the cliffs, never resurfacing.

New York State Police divers return to the Westport Boat Launch with the body of Michael L. Mindell Monday, July 29. Mindell had been swimming with friends at the Palisades Cliffs when he attempted to dive from the cliffs, never resurfacing. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— After three days of searching, New York State Police recovered the body of a Vermont man Monday, July 29.

Michael L. Mindell, 39, of Shelburne, was found at about 6:15 p.m. by New York State Police divers near the Palisades Cliffs in Westport.

Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. John Coryea said Mindell and some friends had been boating on Lake Champlain June 27 when they stopped at the cliffs to do some swimming.

“Mr. Mindell decided to climb the cliffs and dive into the water,” Coryea said. “After he hit the lake, he did not resurface.”

State Police were assisted by members of the Westport and Port Henry volunteer fire departments, along with the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday. The next day, police divers from as far away as Syracuse arrived at the Westport Boat Launch to start their day shortly after 8:30 a.m.

“We started by conducting a grid search in water that is estimated to be over 200 feet deep,” Coryea said. “Mindell was found at a depth of 156 feet.”

Coryea said that there is no indication as of yet as to what may have caused the death.

“It is a pretty deep section and a very jagged area, as all cliffs can be,” Coryea said.

Mindell was reported missing around 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. Coryea said that family members had been notified when the missing persons report was first filed as well as when his body was recovered.

“We were able to use pictures to positively identify the body through the family,” he said.

Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw was on scene and authorized the removal of the body.

Coryea said that the State Police used every asset available to them in the investigation and search.

“Any time we have an incident that involves the loss of life, we do everything that we can and use all of our resources to make sure that no stone has been left unturned,” Coryea said.

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