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CALIFORNIA MAN PRESUMED DROWNED IN LAKE MEAD

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Date: June 25, 2009
Contact: Andrew Munoz, 702-293-8691

CALIFORNIA MAN PRESUMED DROWNED IN LAKE MEAD

LAS VEGAS – National Park Service rangers suspended the search at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a 48-year-old California man who is presumed drowned. He has been identified as Claude Finney.

Rangers were notified at 4:30 p.m. and responded with five rescue boats, two from Boulder Harbor, two from Echo Bay, and one from Temple Bar. Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. responded with a rescue helicopter. Surface and shoreline searches ended with no results.

Finney was with friends on a houseboat in Crescent Cove in the Virgin Basin of Lake Mead.

Witnesses state that he jumped in the water without a life jacket from the houseboat for a swim.

The boat was about 100 feet from shore. He was treading water for about a minute, 30 feet from the boat, when he called out for help. By the time his friends began throwing life-rings into the water, he had slipped beneath the surface.

Weather conditions in the area had created light chop, about one to one-and-a-half foot waves in open water. However, according to rangers the water was relatively calm in the area where he was last seen.

"The heat and the boat's motion can take a lot out of you. You just don't realize it until its too late. You jump in the water to cool off and fatigue hits you from no where and you can't keep yourself afloat." said Andrew Muñoz spokesman for Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Rangers are investigating the cause of this drowning. They strongly encourage swimmers and boaters to wear a life jacket.

Park rangers and Las Vegas Metro divers plan to resume recovery operations in the morning.

This is the second drowning of this kind in the recreation area this summer season. An El Monte, Calif. man drowned in Lake Mohave on Memorial Day after jumping in the water to cool off. He also wasn’t wearing a life jacket.

Next-of-kin notifications have been made.

- NPS -

LOCATION OF DROWNING: 36° 9' 27.831" N, 114° 26' 52.076" W

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=36.157731,+-114.447799

Did You Know?

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam was the first major dam to span the wild Colorado River. One hundred twelve workers died before it was finished in 1935.