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ODNR: Man drowned at East Fork Lake beach Monday morning

Posted at 12:33 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 17:53:07-04

BATAVIA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A man was flown by AirCare helicopter to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after drowning in East Fork Lake Monday morning, according to officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Officials later said he'd died.

Officials said said 20-year-old Pedro Rodriguez was drowning in shallow water, roughly 4 feet to 6 feet deep, near the main beach of East Fork Lake.

Rescue crews formed a human chain from the beach to pull the man to shore, said Lt. Michael Sterwerf, natural resources lieutenant with ODNR.

Sterwerf said Rodriguez was below the surface for 25 to 30 minutes. Paramedics worked to save him in the back of the helicopter while waiting for the pilot to take off, he said.

"When they're working on him, they try to do their best, they try to get a pulse back, you know, to bring him back to life, but you never can tell how it's going to turn out," said Sterwerf.

Witnesses on the scene said people visiting the beach worked to help find Rodriguez when his siblings began shouting for help around 10:00 a.m. Monday morning.

"I had my goggles on so I was able to just go ahead and go in the bottom, see if I can find something," said Catalin Macarie, a witness on scene.

This is the second drowning at East Fork Lake in two weeks, according to officials with ODNR. Officials said drowning numbers are up in general for the year, because more people have come out to swim as pools and parks have been closed during the pandemic.

This is a developing story, WCPO will update as more information becomes available.