Apr 262011

SALT RIVER, AZ – The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has identified a teenage swimmer who went missing and drowned in the Salt River Sunday.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Lake Patrol reportedly pulled the body of 16-year-old Guillermo Ramos from the water around 7 p.m.

Rescuers were called to the Pebble Beach area of the Salt River around 1:30 p.m. Officials tell ABC15 the teen was swimming with his family when he tried to cross the river by himself, panicked and began yelling for help.

Witnesses on the beach said the boy went under the water and did not come back up.

“We just started hearing the mom crying out, ‘My son is drowning!'” Esteban Orrozco said.

Orrozco did not wait for emergency help to show up before jumping into action.

“Automatically we jumped in the water,” Orrozco said. “We went to try to do what we could do. This is pretty messed up.”

MCSO brought in diving teams, a helicopter and an air boat to help in the six-hour-long search.

All day long divers felt their way around the murky bottom, too dark to see their hands in front of their faces.

“If you can look at the mountain there, picture that upside down. It just goes up and down. Add in old trees, limbs, car batteries, and fishing poles, and it adds a whole new dimension to it as well,” explained diver Robert Marske.

Marske has been with sheriff’s team for years. He said the recovery of this teen’s body was one of his toughest ever.

“It was supposed to be a Happy Easter and now it’s turned into a Black Sunday,” Orrozco said.

Search and rescue divers say all swimmers need to know their limitations, and be cautious of what lies beneath the water.

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