Nov 292010

Authorities have identified three men who were found dead after they disappeared while boating at a lake northeast of Phoenix.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says the men were camping with family and friends when they left to go boating on the Verde River at 1 a.m. Sunday.

They have been identified as 32-year-old Francisco Antonio Cruz, 25-year-old Jose Alberto Castaneda, and 21-year-old Jose Luis Castaneda. Authorities say all were from Phoenix.

Authorities say the none of the men were wearing life jackets and it’s believed their boat tipped over and they couldn’t survive in the cold, murky water.

“We were swimming arms length apart and you know the difference between a rock and a victim” said Deputy Jeff Hanson who was the first diver to find a body.

The river waters are cold and murky. Visibility for divers was only a few inches.

Family members notified authorities after realizing later Sunday morning that the men hadn’t returned.

Rescue crews from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office looked for the men throughout Sunday before halting the search at darkness. The search resumed Monday morning and included six rescue divers.

The men’s bodies were found Monday in Horseshoe Lake. Deputies say the men did not have flotation devices and were wearing heavy clothing which would end up weighing them down. The bodies were found together in about 10 feet of water.

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