Body pulled from Lake Erie after hours-long search for missing swimmer

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AVON LAKE, Ohio — A body has been recovered from Lake Erie after multiple crews searched off a private beach in Avon Lake for hours for a missing swimmer, officials have confirmed to Fox 8 News.

Avon Lake Fire Chief Chris Huerner said the victim, 21-year-old  Jyventa Harris,  was not wearing a life jacket.

“That lake is very dangerous,” said Huerner. “I know it’s fun, you want to go swimming, you want to get in the water but it will change in a hurry. It can go from calm to three foot waves in the blink of an eye. Don’t go out on the lake without a life jacket.”

The incident began just before 10:30 a.m.  in the 32700 block of Lake Road, near the Beachdale Association private beach.

Huerner said two men in their early-20s were floating on some inflatable rafts, when they ran into trouble. One of them made it back to shore; the other went under and never resurfaced.

“It started out as one of the most greatest mornings just reflecting at yoga and as we looked out we saw these two boys in a raft,” said Kit Quigley taking the class at Veterans Memorial Park. “It looked like they were having just a great time drifting and suddenly we heard ‘help, help.'”

“We yelled out to him just relax, be patient, relax we’re coming and then all of a sudden he just went under,” said Kit Quigley. “That was so just really, really disturbing to actually witness.”

“I saw him struggling and go under,” said Kit Quigley. “By the time I got the kayak and went out he had probably been under for probably ten minutes.”

“He went under and we couldn’t find him,” said Kit Quigley. “It’s really really it’s one of the most tragic things I’ve ever ever witnessed. My heart goes out to the family.”

Fire and police departments from Avon Lake, Amherst, North Ridgeville and Rocky River assisted with the search.  A helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard was also on hand. Dive team members from multiple departments were in the water for several hours.

The water rescue shifted into a recovery effort after about 90 minutes.

Officials were using sonar equipment to help locate the victim. Huerner said that heavy currents in the water were pushing the search boats around, making it difficult to stay in one place.

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