Lake Afton Drowning Victim Identified

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

UPDATE

Investigators this morning identified Wednesday's Lake Afton drowning victim as Luis Sanchez, 19, of San Luis Del Cordero, Mexico. They say he was with family at the lake.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

UPDATE

What started as a family outing, turned into a desperate search, with a tragic ending. A 19-year-old man is dead, after drowning in Lake Afton. The man went missing around 3:00 p.m. Wednesday in a popular swimming area called Walleye Cove. Wichita and Sedgwick County crews responded, and pulled his body out about an hour and a half after he disappeared.

"I hear, 'help me,'" said camper Shawn Gerardy.

That cry for help is all it took for Gerardy to take action.

"You don't think but twice, you know, you just go," said Gerardy.

Gerardy took his inflatable boat out onto the lake, after a woman came near his campsite, saying someone was missing.

"A bubble, an arm, a splash, something... you know that's what you're just praying for honestly," said Gerardy.

"We have binoculars too, so we were looking on the surface of the water to see anything. And we just didn't see anything, it feels horrible," said Caroline Gerardy.

The Sedgwick County Fire Department says the victim was on a family outing, when a soccer ball went into the lake. That's when he went in to try and retrieve it.

"[He] got out about a hundred yards, went under the water, and did not come back up," said Sedgwick County Fire Division Chief Terry Mauldin.

Members from the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department were already on scene, taking part in a camp Wednesday. Officers responded immediately, and called for back-up.

"One thing that was of concern was the current in the water," said Mauldin.

Around 4:30 p.m., a fish detector picked up an object in the water, and a diver located the body. It was discovered near where the victim went missing.

"I didn't get out there fast enough, is how I feel," said Gerardy. "And I didn't know what I was looking for."

But Gerardy says, he didn't give up until he got official word that the victim had drowned.

"I don't give up, no not as far as finding somebody that's lost," said Gerardy.

Law enforcement has yet to release the victim's name. KAKE News will update you as soon as more details are available.

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Authorities have recovered the body of a drowning victim at Lake Afton in western Sedgwick County.

Crews were called out there around 3:00 Wednesday afternoon, when they were notified of a 19-year-old man who went into the lake chasing after a ball that had gone in and was in the middle of the lake. Divers located and recovered the body shortly before 4:30 p.m. near Walleye Cove in the lake.

The victim was not a participant in the Leaders, Achievers and Winners (LAW) Camp underway at Lake Afton.


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