Bristol man drowns saving 5-year-old

Bristol man drowns saving 5-year-old

Workers try to raise a salvage boat that sunk in 2012.

A Bristol man drowned trying to save his 5-year-old grandson off Spar Island in Mount Hope Bay Sunday.

The Bristol Police Department was notified of a male who went missing around 3:28 p.m.

Members of Bristol, Tiverton and Portsmouth fire departments, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, Bristol Harbormaster’s Office, and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, conducted a search of the area.

Christopher J. Kupec, 52, of Bristol, was recovered by Tiverton rescue workers, who also performed CPR on him.

The 5-year-old and a dog were transported back to the Mt. Hope boat ramp, where the boy was then taken to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment.

According to DEM law enforcement, the boy was playing in the water with a life jacket on. As the boy drifted farther out from shore, the Bristol man went into the water to retrieve him. The boy was recovered, but the man disappeared.

“It is believed that he either suffered a medical emergency upon bringing the boy back, and then, or was swept out to sea,” said Gail Mastrati, public information officer for the DEM.


  1. My deepest condolences to This mans family and all loved ones.. I am good friends with this little boy’s aunt.. They are completely devastated. Please everyone pray for for this family and also pray for this little boy as he was just rushed back to the hospital this afternoon.. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.. May god help you though this hard time and may god be with this little boy and get him through this… Prayers…. :(

  2. My condolences to the family. May god provide you with guidance in this time of loss. I am good friends with the little boys aunt and know the mother as well. Stay strong and may god bless you and stay with you during this time. Everyone is hoping for the best for you little one. The man is truly a hero who has become and angel.