Search and rescue crews found the body of a 19-year-old man Wednesday afternoon who disappeared while swimming in Rose Canyon Lake the day before.
The body was found around 2:45 p.m. in the Mount Lemmon lake, said Pima County Sheriff’s Department Bureau Chief, Rick Kastigar.
Crews began a ground search for the man Wednesday morning but had to wait for a break in the weather to take a boat out into the water and send divers into the lake, Kastigar said.
“This appears to be a drowning,” Kastigar said. Officials are waiting for autopsy results to give an actual cause of death.
The sheriff’s department received a 911 report that the man, who was at the lake with friends, started drowning and went underwater around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday but divers could not go into the lake because of the murky water and decreasing daylight.
According to witnesses, the man slipped underwater while swimming across the lake.
“There were a couple of young men who decided to take the challenge to swim across the lake,” Kastigar said. “And they decided to swim across the same direction and one made it and one didn’t.”
The seven-acre lake was created in 1958 and is a popular fishing spot in a canyon at 7,000 feet on Mount Lemmon. The Arizona Game and Fish Department regularly stocks the lake with rainbow trout.
At its deepest point, the lake drops down to 31 feet, said Mark Hart, a Game and Fish spokesman.
The U.S. Forest Service has prohibited swimming and boating in the lake since 1985 because it is a small lake and its primary use is for fishing and it does not want any activities in the lake that would disturb the fish, Hart said.
In June, the Forest Service started issuing special permits to allow non-motorized watercrafts to be used by youth service organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts for safety training and exercises, Hart said.
The lake was drained and dredged to remove debris and several thousand cubic yards of silt that had built up after a strong storm season in September 2001.