Ridgefield Drowning Ruled An Accident

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Alex Bergman, 23, of Somers, N.Y., was found in the pool at a friend's home in Ridgefield early Monday afternoon after an extensive search of the surrounding area. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Facebook.com
Ridgefield Fire Chief Heather Burford, left, coordinates parts of the search for Alex Bergman. The Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue team searched three ponds in the area. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – The death of Alex Bergman, 23, in the pool at a friend's home in Ridgefield after a party has been ruled an accident.

The cause of death was asphyxiation by submersion, the Connecticut Medical Examiner’s office said although it could not release any further information.

Bergman, from Somers, N.Y., was the focus of a two-day search by the Ridgefield Police and Fire departments between Sunday and Monday. Police used nine dogs, two helicopters, neighboring departments and an underwater search and rescue team before discovering Bergman in the pool at the Ridgebury Road house he had been visiting.

Responders had done everything they could to find Bergman, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. He said that even if they had checked the pool initially it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

“Everyone needs to know that the professionals involved assessed everything. Will there be changes? I’m sure,” Marconi said. He said he didn’t believe any mistakes were made. At the start of the search, all the stories from the witnesses indicated that Bergman had left the pool area and that time was of the essence, he said.

“You’ve got maybe 15 minutes on the outside you can try and save someone, maybe 20 minutes. Maybe there is a miracle after an hour. But 12 hours? No, and that’s the sad part,” Marconi said, noting that it had been at least 12 hours between the last time someone had seen him and when he was reported missing to the police. “Who knows how long he was in there prior to them realizing he was gone.”

There is a lesson to be learned from this incident for young adults and professionals, Marconi said.

The Ridgefield Police Department has not commented on the use of drugs and alcohol at the party, although Fire Chief Heather Burford said Monday the police were investigating that angle. Marconi offered no specifics but said alcohol and drugs were involved at the party.

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