Authorities: Cold water likely contributed to drowning in southwest WA

Authorities: Cold water likely contributed to drowning in southwest WA

Credit: Kristen Henderson/KGW

Authorities: Cold water likely contributed to drowning in southwest WA

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by Sara Roth, KGW

KREM.com

Posted on August 24, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 24 at 4:25 PM

COWLITZ COUNTY, Wash. -- The body of a 22-year-old man who disappeared Saturday while swimming at Yale Lake near Cougar, Washington has been recovered, officials said.

A caller contacted Cowlitz County 911 around 11:30 a.m. from the Beaver Bay Campground and reported that the man was swimming at the lake near the park entrance when he went underwater, according to Charlie Rosenzweig of the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office.

The caller said the swimmer, later identified as Stephen Rilea of Vancouver, went under around 50 feet from shore and didn't come back up.

Officials on scene said that Rilea, who was camping with his family, knew how to swim but the water in the lake is very cold and hypothermia was likely a contributing factor to him going underwater.

A Clark County Sheriff's boat, fire units, deputies and the Cowlitz County Dive Rescue team were all searching for the swimmer. By 7:30 p.m. Saturday, there was still no sign of Rilea after two divers spent more than an hour underwater, searching for the victim, Rosenzweig said. The search resumed Sunday.

Rilea's body was found just before noon, officials said.

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