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Two men drown in Niagara River at Broderick Park

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Two unidentified men drowned late Monday afternoon in the same stretch of the Niagara River where Buffalo Police diver Craig Lehner died last year.     

Police say they were called to the scene almost immediately after two men were said to be in trouble in notoriously dangerous water and divers were in the water within minutes but couldn't save the 29-year-old and 46-year-old men.

"It appears as if one victim went in the water attempting to retrieve some driftwood," said Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo. 

"Within moments of entering the water, the victim was immediately in trouble. A second victim entered the water in an attempt to rescue the first one. Those attempts failed and ultimately cost the second person his life."

Rinaldo says the railing in Broderick Park is marked, telling people not to go into the water. Still, every year people go into the river at various spots along its course and drown. 

"We can't stress enough how dangerous this water is, down here. You cannot swim in this. You cannot even enter it for a moment. The currents, the rip currents are beyond deadly," Rinaldo said. 

"As we've seen, unfortunately, with the tragedy last year with the loss of our diver, Lt. Craig Lehner."

Buffalo police cars near waterways carry floats to toss to people needing help in the water, offering immediate assistance.   

UPDATE: Buffalo police on Tuesday identified the two men as Mario Guthrie, 29, and Scott Vater, 46, both of Buffalo.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.