The body of a man who was reported missing after falling off his jet ski at Lake Pleasant nearly two months ago was discovered by boaters, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
California resident Ronald Hylton, 49, was a passenger on a jet ski driven by his 22-year-old daughter when he fell off it on May 26, according to the sheriff’s office.
Hylton, who was not wearing a life vest, struggled to stay afloat and eventually went underwater, officials said.
Crews searched extensively but could not locate the body, Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez said.
Boaters discovered the body on July 13 near Roadrunner Island and the Roadrunner Campground at Lake Pleasant, according to the sheriff’s office.
Many factors went into how long it took for the body to be recovered and identified, Enriquez said.
Debris and vegetation at the bottom of the lake made it difficult for search crews to find the body using sonar technology and remote-operated vehicles, Enriquez said.
Dive crews performed a line search, combing the water by hand, but they failed to find anything due to the depth and breadth of Lake Pleasant, he added.
“The visibility in the water is about an inch. Everything is feel and touch,” he said.
Officials decided to wait until the body rose to the surface on its own, according to Enriquez.
“When so much time passes, we know the body is going to rise to the top,” he said.
Hylton’s death is a lesson on the importance of wearing flotation devices and safety gear, Enriquez said.
“We do so much advising people to use the flotation devices, and it’s so important to have one on, even if you’re a great swimmer,” he said.
There is no evidence of foul play, officials said.
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