Body of Swimmer Recovered After Hours Long Search at Turtle Pond

At approximately 16:45 hours Thursday, a 911 call was placed that sparked an overwhelming response between Boston Fire, Boston EMS, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police, Park Rangers, and DRC assets to Turtle Pond in Hyde Park. The 911 caller reported that their friend who had been swimming hadn’t been seen for almost 10 minutes and they were scared he may have drowned.

In less than 15 minutes Boston Fire’s dive team were searching in the water, and Officers from District E-18, State Police from H-Troop. and DCR Rangers were scouring the embankments. As more and more time passed the mood became somber, with the realization that if he were still in the water, the likelihood of survival were next to nothing. By 17:45 hours, members of the Boston Fire, State Police, and Boston Police dive teams had began searching the bottom of the pond where witnesses had last seen him, the rescue mission now seeming to become a recovery.

Divers reported difficult conditions with almost zero visibility as well as dangerously cold temperatures at the bottom which is estimated to range between 20 and 50 feet deep. Working in a arching pattern, divers fought through the almost 5 foot deep silt bed for hours as the sun began to set. Boston EMS, EMTs, Paramedics, Command Staff, and members of their Special Operations Group were on scene as well, medically evaluating each diver once they resurfaced as well as tending to the relatively minor cuts and scrapes the divers received well scouring the pond’s bed. With fears of an all night dive, additional resources such as lighting and additional divers were called into the scene.

At approximately 18:45 hours the dive master relayed the awaited transmission from one of the divers on the bottom, a body had been discovered. The corpse was brought to shore and loaded onto a plastic stretcher, where he was carried to land. EMS quickly confirmed that the man was non-viable and his body was covered, waiting to be taken away by the Medical Examiners Office.


The man has since been identified as 19-year-old Jason Peri Bonilla, of Roxbury. Massachusetts State Police Detectives were called to the scene, however, at this time foul play is not suspected, and it is believed to have just been a tragic accident. Officials reiterated the dangers surrounding swimming in these types of unattended and often treacherous areas, reminding the public that the risks of adventuring into these ponds and waterways is often not worth the risk.