A 59-year-old Fairhaven man died Saturday afternoon, the victim of a possible drowning or medical incident while in the water at Pope Beach in Fairhaven, the Office of Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III has confirmed.

The deceased has been identified as Brian Breton, Quinn spokesman Gregg Miliote said in a media release today.

Fairhaven Police received a 911 call Saturday around 3 p.m. for a report of a man being pulled from the water at the small neighborhood beach at the end of Hacker Street off Sconticut Neck Road on Priests Cove, the New Bedford Harbor side of the neck. The man had reportedly stopped breathing.

Police and paramedics arrived and located the man and at least two witnesses. The victim was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 4 p.m.

A preliminary investigation revealed that Breton entered the water after he and a friend parked their vehicle at the bottom of Hacker Street, the DA's office said.  A witness who was already in the water told police he saw the victim swim about 30 feet out into the shallow water. After about 15 minutes, the witness said he noticed that the victim was face down in the water.

The witness initially believed the victim was just floating or viewing marine life, but realized something was wrong after about 45 seconds passed. He also noticed the victim's friend heading towards the victim. The witness and Breton's friends pulled the man from the water and immediately called 911.

It is unclear at this time whether or not the victim suffered a medical emergency while in the water, Quinn's office said. The depth of the water in the area where the incident occurred is only about three feet. An autopsy will be conducted. There is no suspicion of foul play.

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