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Body of missing swimmer recovered in Lake Piru

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

May 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The body of a swimmer who had been reported missing over the weekend was recovered Monday morning from the bottom of Lake Piru. He is identified as Roberto Barrios, 36, of Los Angeles. Ventura County Sheriff's officials say Barrios was reported missing on Saturday, after he disappeared while swimming with friends.

The group of nine was celebrating their graduation from nursing school, and had rented a pontoon boat from the Lake Piru Marina, when they motored to Pump House Point. That's where three of them decided to go for a swim, and while two of the group donned life preservers, Barrios elected not to wear one.

Investigators say as the trio jumped into the water, the wind became extremely strong and blew the pontoon boat away from the swimmers. Barrios was seen struggling in the choppy waves of the lake and soon disappeared below the surface. A passing boat recovered the two other swimmers.

Search and Rescue teams were called to the area, including scuba divers, to search the bottom of the lake.

Side-scan sonar technology was also used in the search. The difficult search went on for two days, with poor visibility and a water temperature of 52-degrees. It wasn't until crews studied a photograph taken of Barrios on the pontoon boat just before he jumped into the water, that they recalculated the search area and were able to locate Barrios' body, 50 feet below the water level.

The Sheriff's Department encourages all boaters to wear life preservers so terrible tragedies like this one can be prevented.