PUEBLO, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife park rangers say they recovered the body of a man who was reported missing off the north shore of Lake Pueblo State Park on Sunday.
CPW said witnesses called for help around 4:30 p.m. Sunday after a man went missing while he tried to retrieve an inflatable pool floatie that had drifted away from shore near the dam.
The victim was reportedly wearing pants and socks but no shoes or shirt as he attempted to swim to the floatie when he disappeared. Visibility in the water where he went missing was estimated to be just two feet, according to CPW.
CPW park rangers Daryl Seder, Erin Steinman and Josh Klosheim launched a rescue boat and initiated an immediate search using a sonar device and an underwater remotely operated vehicle.
The Pueblo County Sheriff’s volunteer dive team also responded to aid in the search.
The rescue team located the victim’s body around 9 p.m. about 40 feet from shore in water about seven feet deep, according to park rangers.
The Pueblo County Coroner’s Office will release the victim’s identity once next-of-kin has been notified.
Lake Pueblo State Park Manager Joe Stadterman offered condolences to the victim’s family and friends, as well as a warning about swimming at Lake Pueblo.
“This is another sad example of why swimming is not permitted anywhere in Lake Pueblo. Swimming is only permitted in Rock Canyon Swim Beach below the dam. This incident also points to the importance of wearing life jackets when you are in the water,” shared Stadterman.
CPW said that if the man’s death is declared a drowning by the coroner, it would be the eighth drowning in Colorado in 2021. Six of the drownings have been on reservoirs, lakes or ponds. Two have occurred in swift water.
Colorado experienced its worst year on the water ever in 2020 when 34 people drowned, according to CPW.