FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) – Officials have officially identified both victims of weekend drownings in the area. The first occurred Saturday evening in Noble County, the second Sunday afternoon in Huntington County.
A five year-old boy was reported missing by his parents to lifeguards at Bixler Lake Park in Kendallville around 5:00pm Saturday. Dominic Slone-Lehman of Cromwell was soon found unresponsive, floating in approximately five feet of water. Lifeguards and medics on the scene attempted to perform CPR on the child until medics arrived, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at Parkview Hospital roughly 24-hours later.
The cause of death has been ruled an accident but remains under investigation by the Kendallville Police Department and the Department of Natural Resources.
Officials have also identified the Marion man who drowned Sunday afternoon at the Salamonie Reservoir. The accident happened at approximately 3:20pm.
Witnesses say 18 year-old Jordan Laute was swimming in the Salamonie Reservoir in Huntington County despite warning signs of dangerously high water at the beach. Park officials say the beach has been closed since Friday for this reason.
Reports say Laute went around blockades and swam past rope barriers to depths where he could no longer swim. Witnesses report he began showing typical signs of a drowning victim but they were unable to get life-saving devices out to him in time.
Park officials say water levels were still three feet above their normal levels as of Monday morning and were an additional six to eight inches higher at the time of the incident.
Indiana Conservation Officers warn if you spot a drowning victim, try throwing out a life vest or flotation device, but do not attempt to swim out yourself to save the victim.
"The last thing we would encourage anyone to do would be to go to the victim,” says Cpl. Patrick Heidenreich with the Department of Natural Resources. “That may be your instinct but when someone is in a panic mode they're not thinking rationally. Their only thought is to keep themselves afloat. And if you swim out to them and try to rescue them, they may try to use you to keep their head out of the water and in effect drown you. Now we have two victims in the water instead of one."
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