A man drowned after falling into the East River near Domino Park on Wednesday, police said.
The 36-year-old victim, whose name has not been released, was seen going over the railing of the Brooklyn park shortly after 6:30 p.m.
While police initially reported that the man was attempting to retrieve a volleyball, witnesses disputed that account.
“The person hit the rail at full run, pivoted over it and flipped,” said Phil Ritz, who was in the park at the time. “The current was moving fast, and it appeared that the person was swimming under the pier. Then a few seconds later they were gone.”
An NYPD spokesperson told Gothamist on Thursday afternoon that video showed a ball entering the water, but it was unclear whether the man was chasing after it. Police believe the cause of death to be accidental.
The man was pulled out of the water by NYPD scuba divers and transported to the Brooklyn Navy Yard ferry dock. He was pronounced dead at Brooklyn Hospital.
Allie Wills, an architect who was playing volleyball in the park at the time of the incident, recalled the chaotic scene after the man fell into the river, as bystanders tried to find help.
“We ran to the edge and saw him swirling around in the current,” Wills told Gothamist. “There was just confusion. There’s no access to the water, no safety buoys or supports under the pier that you can grab onto. It was a helpless thing to watch.”
“The guard rail isn’t high enough,” she added. “I could totally see how someone could slip over it on accident.”
Inquiries to Domino Park were not returned.