Calistus Anyichie

Calistus Anyichie in his Binghamton men's basketball team photo. 

Update: It has been confirmed that a 19 year old man found in Upper Buttermilk State Park last night has died after drowning in the gorge. Calistus Anyichie has been identified as the victim. Anyichie was a Binghamton University student set to enter his sophomore year, was a member of the men's basketball team and was majoring in political science. More information will be published when it becomes available. 

According to a press release from the Ithaca Fire Department, crews responded around 5 p.m. Sunday night to an unconscious man in the water at Upper Buttermilk State Park. The man, later identified as Anyichie, was recovered from the water as medical attention was provided as he was brought up a 15-foot bank. He was handed over to paramedics from Bangs Ambulance. Guthrie Air, Park Police for New York State and the Tompkins County Sheriff's Office were all on the scene and are investigating. 

Anyichie's coach, Tommy Dempsey, offered this statement on Twitter expressing the team's devastation at the tragedy. 

 There has been an outpouring of support online from other universities as news of Anyichie's death spread. 

Aniyichie's high school, St. Mary of the Assumption in New Jersey, also passed along a heartfelt message on social media mourning his passing. His hometown is listed as Short Hills, New Jersey.

The following message was sent by the Binghamton University administration to students earlier today. 

The campus is saddened to learn of the accidental drowning death of Binghamton University student-athlete Calistus Anyichie (pronounced uh-NEE-chee), 19, who was entering his sophomore year at Binghamton. Originally from Nigeria, Anyichie was a member of the men’s basketball team and was majoring in political science. 

“A talented young person has been tragically taken from us,” said President Harvey Stenger. “This is a heartbreaking loss for our community. We will do all that we can to be there for his family, for the team and everyone who knew Calistus.”

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Calistus,” Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott, said. “Calistus was a bright and engaging young man with an infectious smile. He loved his academic studies at Binghamton and embodied the exceptional spirit of being a student-athlete at our University. This is a heartbreaking tragedy. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, teammates and fellow student-athletes.”

For those in need of counseling services, the Dean of Students Office and CARE Team, along with the University Counseling Center (UCC), can offer support. Students who would like to speak to someone should reach out to the Dean of Students Office and CARE Team by calling 607-777-2804. The UCC can be reached by calling 607-777-2772. To reach someone after hours or for emergencies, students should call 911 or the UCC after-hours counselor by calling 607-777-2772 and selecting #2.

Faculty and staff seeking assistance should contact the Employee Assistance Program at 607-777-6655 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. An off-campus coordinator can be reached after hours by calling the 24-hour EAP call line at 1-800-822-0244.

Journalist Josh Verlin highlighted an interview he conducted with Anyichie in 2017, in which the then-highly recruited high schooler said he wanted to be a diplomat. 

 Anyichie is the first drowning victim reported so far this year, but it follows a long history of tragedy in the Ithaca gorges, particularly among young people. In 2017, incoming Cornell freshman Winston Perez-Ventura drowned while swimming in the Ithaca Falls gorge. Earlier that year, Aalaap Narasipura was found dead in Fall Creek, though it was never announced if he had drowned or not. In 2018, the body of Avram Pinals was found in the Fall Creek Gorge shortly before he was set to graduate from Cornell University. 

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