Authorities say they are still investigating a fatal canoe accident that took place last weekend.

According to the New York State Police troopers from the Jamestown barracks were called to the Conewango Creek in Chautauqua county at approximately 7:00pm on Sunday, May 22, 2022 for a report of an overturned canoe.

Conewango Creek via Google Maps (May 2022)
Conewango Creek via Google Maps (May 2022)

In a written release the NYSP says that several people were canoeing when one of the canoes rolled over.  The man inside the canoe, identified as 46-year-old Michael T. Leary of Pine Plains, was missing when troopers arrived.

The NY State Police Underwater Recovery Unit, Chautauqua County Emergency Response Team, and local fire agencies searched for Mr. Leary.  He was found deceased the following day, May 23, 2022.

Emergency responders say he was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident.  He was brought to the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office.

There is no information available at this time as to what caused Leary's canoe to overturn.  No other injuries were reported during the incident or as a result of the recovery.

Police say that the investigation is continuing.  Anyone with information that might be helpful to police is asked to call the NYSP.

Located in Pennsylvania and Western New York, the Conewango Creek runs off of the Allegheny River.

Anonymous calls, e-mail, and messages may also be left with Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers by calling: 1-866-730-8477 (TIPS), by visiting, or by using the P3 Tips mobile app. All information received by Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers is 100% confidential.


[AUTHOR'S NOTE:   This post is for informational purposes and is based largely on information received from the New York State Police.  The reader is reminded that all suspects and arrested persons are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.  At the time of this posting no additional information is available.]

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