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MCSO locate body of man who went underwater at Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant
Posted at 12:19 PM, May 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 16:51:15-04

PEORIA, AZ — Maricopa County Sheriff's officials have located the body of a man who went underwater at Lake Pleasant and did not resurface.

Officials were called to the lake Saturday around 11 a.m. after reports of a possible drowning incident near South Barker Island.

MCSO said the man, identified 52-year-old Lorne Jonassen, was not wearing a life jacket when he went into the water.

His body was recovered from the lake on Tuesday evening, according to MCSO.

There were no signs of foul play.

Multiple people have died at Lake Pleasant within the last month, prompting officials to urge extra safety precautions on the lake.

"It's the most terrible thing you can imagine," said Keith McConnell, a man who has been going to Lake Pleasant for the last 20 years. "The lake was pretty choppy today. A lot of wind."

He says on days like this, things can get rough, fast.

"People get tossed around on a boat. You could lose items, or somebody could be pushed over if you really hit a big wave," he said.

McConnell says he was on his boat near south Barker Island when suddenly he heard people screaming for help.

"They were waving at us, and they mentioned somebody jumped in for the flag and went under and didn't come back up," he said.

At that point, without hesitating, he joined the search.

"We all kind of circled our boats around and tried to look in the water, but we didn't see anything," said McConnell. "My heart goes out to those people. Fellow boaters are pretty shaken up about it and we just feel for that family."

About 10 minutes later, he says first responders took over.

Kirk Kildahl and Melanie Cisler came to the lake to enjoy their weekend. Both are calling this a tragedy.

"It doesn't take a lot to have an accident. Once you're under the water, it's dangerous," says Cisler.

Kildahl says things are unpredictable below the surface.

"If you're on shore without a boat, it's really hard to find a nice spot. Everything's rocky. And even in a boat, it's really difficult to find nice spots to get out," adds Kildahl.

Lake Pleasant and other Arizona water destinations are expected to be busy during Memorial Day weekend.