Police ID swimmer pulled from water in Cranston

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Investigators are working to find out what led up to the death of a 27-year-old man who was pulled from the Pawtuxet River in Cranston on Wednesday.

According to police, rescue crews recovered the body of Alexander Higham, of West Warwick, Wednesday evening after an extensive water search. Friends of Higham say he was jumping from the Arkwright Bridge and swimming in the river with friends when he did not resurface.

Devin Fiske said he was swimming with Higham at the bridge for the last three days. He said the victim seemed to be comfortable in the water, but was often short of breath when he came back up.

“Every time I seen him jump in, his face would come up, like he couldn’t breathe,” Fiske said. “So every time I’d ask him, ‘are you okay?’ he said, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah.'”

Brett Matos, a friend of Higham’s, said the victim called him on Wednesday to ask him to come swim at the bridge. He declined the offer – and said that phone call was the last time he heard from his friend.

“I didn’t go so, kind of upset about that,” Matos said.

Multiple boats and divers responded to the area to search for Higham – and firefighters looked from a ladder over the water for signs of him. Police said his body was located in about 10 feet of water. Police said the water under the bridge ranges from 10 to 15 feet deep.

“With this particular type of bridge and this water, we’re not certain as to what’s underneath this water, we’ve found that we have a lot of debris under here,” said Chief Bill McKenna of the Cranston Fire Department. “Could jump off, land on something solid and have a problem or you may snag while under the water and not be able to get yourself back up.”

Police said Higham did have minor medical issues – but they do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.

The investigation is ongoing.

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