Friend of ice bucket challenge founder drowns

Last updated 12:06 21/08/2014
The Sydney Morning Herald

Corey Griffin died after diving off a wharf and drowning in Nantucket Harbour in Massachusetts shortly after attending a charity function for motor neuron disease ALS, which inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon.

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A friend of the man who popularised the Ice Bucket Challenge has died after diving into Nantucket Harbour in the US state of Massachusetts.

Corey Griffin, 27, dove off the top of a building into the harbour Saturday morning after being out with friends, police say.

At 2am, police responded to 44 Straight Wharf for a report of a man missing in the harbor.

Nantucket lifeguard Colin Perry, who was off-duty at the time, happened to be working nearby and was called to the scene. Perry made several dives and recovered Griffin from the ocean bottom, police said.

Romina Mateza, an employee at Nantucket Ice Cream & Smoothies, which is located in the building that Griffin jumped from, said it used to be common for young kids to dive into the water from the roof, but she hasn’t seen anyone else do it this summer and she doesn’t think anyone has ever drowned in the past.

“Corey was an unbelievably motivated young professional with friends all over the country,” his friend Michael Greeley said. “Nobody could have asked for a better friend, a better brother to his brother Michael and sister Casey, or a better son.”

Stephen Greeley, Michael’s father, said the young man was on the island to attend the The Nantucket Boys & Girls Club Tim Russert Summer Groove concert and to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on behalf of his friend Pete Frates.

Frates, whose battle with ALS recently turned the ice bucket challenge into a viral social media campaign, met Griffin in 2006 at Boston College and the two have been friends since.

Griffin had raised $100,000 for ALS on Friday night, the Boston Globe reported.

“He was an absolutely outstanding young business professional and rising star,” said Bryan Koop, another close friend of the Griffin family. “He had an uncommon maturity, for his age, for giving back. He would say how blessed he felt for having such giving family.”

It is unclear why Griffin was at the harbor and what the circumstances were that led to his apparent drowning, according to Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, whose office is investigating the death along with Nantucket police.

“It’s a tragic event. People just have to be very careful when doing these kinds of things,” O’Keefe said referring to diving off the building into the harbor. “It’s obviously not the wisest thing in the world.”

-Cape Cod Times/MCT

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