Underwater weeds complicate search for missing Hume Lake swimmer

The Fresno BeeJuly 5, 2014 

Dense underwater weeds in Hume Lake caused Fresno County Sheriff's Office divers to discontinue their search Saturday for an Anaheim man who is presumed drowned, Lt. John Golden said.

The search, which began Friday, continued Saturday and is scheduled to resume at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

The sheriff's dive unit supervisor said dense vegetation like Hydrilla made it hard to see and move underwater and wraps around scuba gear, causing the divers to move slowly.

The water where the divers are searching for the missing swimmer is about 15 feet deep and 55 degrees, Golden said.

Dive unit members stayed in the Hume Lake area overnight to speed up the search on Sunday.

The lake was closed while divers searched.

The 27-year-old was visiting Hume Lake with his family and swimming near Sandy Point, Golden said. Family members said he was about 100 feet out when they noticed him struggling in the water and calling for help before disappearing under the surface.

The family said he was in good physical condition, knew how to swim and wasn't drinking alcohol or taking any medicine that would affect his physical ability.

The sheriff's office first received several calls regarding the incident Friday afternoon, but initial reports were of a missing person and of a juvenile drowning, Golden said.

The U.S. Forest Service arrived on scene about 4 p.m., but the first sheriff's unit didn't arrive until about 6 p.m., Golden said. The dive unit arrived a short time later from regular patrol duties. The divers were not immediately able to try to recover the man because it takes a while to acclimate to the altitude at Hume Lake, Golden said.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or bvaccari@fresnobee.com.

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