Police Recover Body of Missing Montauk Swimmer

Officials searched Fort Pond using a personal watercraft on Monday, before the missing swimmer’s body was recovered. Independent/Nadia Block

Update, July 21, 4 p.m.:  Police are still investigating exactly what caused Jeffrey B. Gantt  to drown in Fort Pond Sunday.

Detective Sgt. Dan Toia said that Gantt was with two friends and his girlfriend when they launched a row boat from a house on Fort Pond. The boat belonged to one of his friend’s. They lost an oar and his two friends jump into the lake to retrieve it. The 42-year-old soon followed. It wasn’t long before he disappeared under the water.

His girlfriend, who had stayed back on the boat, jumped in to search for him. With a strong southwest wind that night the boat quickly drifted away. The two men swam to shore to get a canoe, then paddled out to pick her up, but there was no sign of Gantt.

It appears he may not have known his swimming limitations, Toia said. “Or maybe he wasn’t aware of the depth of the water or the wind conditions or he became too tired or whatnot,” he continued. It is also possible he experienced a medical event. An autopsy is being conducted.

Emergency personnel were unable to find him until Monday evening, when side-scan sonar helped divers locate his body, 30 feet at the bottom of the pond.

Originally, July 21, 1 a.m.: The body of a swimmer who went missing in Fort Pond on Sunday evening has been found.

Jeffrey B. Gantt, a 42-year-old New York City resident and Brooklyn bar owner, was recovered from the Montauk pond, according to a statement East Hampton Town police issued late Monday night.

While using side-scan sonar, members of the East Hampton Town Police Dive Team located an image consistent with that of a human body in Fort Pond Monday at about 5:15 p.m. Police divers pulled Gantt’s body from the pond’s bottom, a depth of approximately 30 feet, they said.

Gantt went missing Sunday after he went into the water to retrieve an oar that had gone overboard from the row boat he was on. Witnesses told police he was unable to make it back to the boat and disappeared under the water, police said. Police received a 911 distress call at 7:54 p.m. Three others were reportedly with him on the water.

Gantt was a managing partner at Huckleberry Bar in East Williamsburg, which specializes in craft cocktails and small plates.

The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office in conjunction with the East Hampton Town Police Detective Division are continuing the investigation.

East Hampton Town Marine Patrol, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office marine and drone units, and the Suffolk County police aviation unit assisted in the search when it resumed Monday morning. Officials searched for Gantt for two hours on Sunday night, before temporarily calling it off. They had nearly no visibility in the murky pond.

No further information was immediately available.

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