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UPDATE: Body Recovered at Enon Beach, Kids ID Father
Enon --- After a nearly six hour search the divers from Mad River Township EMS recovered the body of a man who drowned.
The man was reported to have gone under just before 1:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Divers with Mad River Township found him in 12 feet of water.
Although not confirmed, family members have identified the victim as 44 year old Joseph Hartz. Fire officials believe the man may have been taken under by a strong current.
"To get drunk and swimming out here in these ponds like that and for somebody like that to happen to my father it's crazy," said the victim's son, Joseph Hartz Jr.
Mad River Township Fire Chief, Elmer Beard says from the start his team treated the rescue as a body recovery effort. Witnesses on scene said he was drunk, holding a beer can while attempting to swim in the water.
"Several family members were out in a paddle boat in the middle of the lake, he wanted to go jump off the paddle boat, due to him drinking they told him no they did not want him out there he decided to go on his own and swam out there," said Sgt. Christina Evans-Fisher with Clark County Sheriffs Office
He went under but never came back up.
Beard says the search took six hours due to conditions in the water.
"One of the obstacles the divers are encountering is we have anywhere from 24 to 40 inches of vegetative growth coming up from the bottom of the lake which hampers our ripe operations and our circle patters and our visibility," Beard explained.
Reporter Annette Peagler was on the scene and talked to the man's family about what they'll remember most about him.
"It's kind of strange that you think that somebody's always going to be around especially a guy like Joes caliber he's really a strong person," said John Myers, the victim's uncle.
"His smile...I seen him yesterday on a bike and he just smiled at me," said Jody Hartz, Joe's daughter.
Based on witness accounts, police believe the man was drinking. They say his death is a harsh reminder to drink responsibly.
"It's not a good idea to mix alcohol with any of that kind of stuff. Do it reasonably and in a safe manner," said Sgt. Evans-Fischer.
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