Agencies and officials in the City of Ithaca sent similar messages to the community after an incoming Cornell University student drowned near Ithaca Falls on Saturday – stay out of the water when visiting the beautiful gorges in the area.
Winston Perez-Ventura, 17, a native of the Dominican Republic who resided in the Bronx, entered Fall Creek with friends near Fall Creek Drive on Saturday afternoon and did not resurface after disappearing underwater. His body was eventually found by emergency responders about 5 hours later near Ithaca Falls.
Donations have poured in from all over the country through a GoFundMe page to help the family of Perez-Ventura, who drew national attention in December when ABC News featured his story. Perez-Ventura planned to study architecture at Cornell and came to the U.S. at age 9 from the Dominican Republic. He was the first student at his high school to be accepted to college.
While the community has come together by raising more than $24,000 in one day to assist his family (surpassing the $20,000 goal), Perez-Ventura’s death is a sad reminder of the power and danger of the gorges.
See Ithaca Journal