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Buttermilk Falls is beautiful but deadly. (Photo/Greg Draiss)


Western NY man dies at Buttermilk Falls

Sunday, August 10, 2014 - Updated: 8:47 AM

updated Aug. 11, 2014 to add information



LONG LAKE -- A Buffalo man drowned Saturday on the Raquette River here.

New York State Police received a report Aug. 9 shortly before 4 p.m. of a possible drowning at Buttermilk Falls. When police arrived they were told a young man had been swept down the falls and did not surface.

He was held underwater at the bottom by the current. Emergency responders worked for about three hours before they were able to recover his body from the river.

According to a State Police press release, Nicolas M. Padilla, 20, was swimming with a friend in the slower moving pools of water below Buttermilk Falls. He and the friend ascended the rocks adjacent to the waterfall and began to cross the river near the crest of the waterfall.

Padilla lost his footing and the current swept him over the waterfall, where he became lodged below the surface of the river and drowned.

Hamilton County Coroner Virginia Jennings pronounced Padilla deceased at the scene. His body was taken to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville for autopsy.

Town Supervisor Clark Seaman says to the best of his knowledge Padilla was vacationing here. State Police are investigating.

The last drowning at the falls occurred almost exactly 11 years ago, when Karl “Wil” Geiger, 12, Long Lake, lost his life there Aug. 8, 2003.

Buttermilk Falls is a short hike off North Point Road in the Town of Long Lake. The falls drop 40 feet, according to, and tumble over a series of granite “steps” into a large pool.

Long Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Long Lake Rescue Squad, dive teams and fire departments from Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, state forest rangers, and New York State Police Aviation Unit participated in the rescue and recovery efforts.


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