UPDATE: Albany priest dies in flash flood while on way to Herkimer mass

Photo courtesy of 'The Evangelist,' the publication of the Diocese of Albany.

An Albany priest died after being swept away during a flash flood.

Posted: Nov 1, 2019 2:21 PM
Updated: Nov 8, 2019 2:18 PM

HERKIMER, N.Y. (AP) – An Albany priest died after being swept away during a flash flood.

Father J. Thomas Connery, 82, was traveling to say mass for the people of Herkimer and Newport when he was caught in the flood.

State officials say Connery was traveling on Military Road in Norway Thursday night and was swept away after leaving his vehicle. The body was recovered Friday.

Police were called by a resident reporting a man taken away by a gush of floodwaters.

After arriving on scene, they could see the road surface at the shoulder had collapsed and the vehicle became stuck with its driver's side wheels on the pavement and the passenger side in a ravine created by the floodwaters.

When Connery left his car, police say the current swept him downstream. 

This is the only flood-related fatality reported as of Friday afternoon.

Connery was a pastor at Immaculate Conception in Glenville from 1990-2007. 

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger released a statement:

"We are so saddened to learn of Father Thomas Connery’s tragic death, but we know that he died as he lived — serving the people of God without fear or concern for himself. Father Connery was a devoted priest who served faithfully for 56 years and just weeks ago had accepted a new assignment as sacramental minister for Sts. Anthony and Joseph Church in Herkimer as well as St. John the Baptist in Newport. May he rest in peace, and may his family be comforted by the faith that served as Father Connery’s strength and foundation throughout his life of ministry."

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