84-year-old man drowns at Millerton Lake

MILLERTON LAKE (KFSN) -- A family is now grieving the loss of an 84-year-old man who drowned at Millerton Lake Sunday morning.

After an extensive search, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office dive team recovered the body. The hot summer day turned into a tragedy at Millerton Lake when the man disappeared underwater just before 11 a.m.

"We're staying pretty close, watching the kids after we heard about the drowning," said Judy Sandoval, who frequents the lake. "It was scary to hear about it."

Park rangers say the man was swimming from the shoreline toward a boat his family and friends had anchored in the water about 50 yards away. They say he wasn't wearing a life jacket, and at some point, a family member or friend on the boat saw him disappear underwater.

They called 911, and after hours of search and rescue efforts where crews scoured Millerton Lake, the Fresno County Sheriff's Dive Team found his body.

"It's just heartbreaking honestly," witness Sierra Hamilton said.

Park rangers say they are still investigating what could have caused the drowning and are urging everyone at the lake who may not be confident about their swimming skills to swim with a partner, wear a life jacket and limit alcohol consumption, especially in the middle of an excessive heat warning.

"The saddest thing a park ranger lifeguard at Millerton Lake can witness is one empty seat on the way home," Ranger Steve Barber said.

Park rangers are advising anyone coming here to cool off during these hot temperatures to swim at one of the guarded beaches where lifeguards are close by and to utilize the life jacket stations around the lake.
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