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What you need to know to stay safe on Arizona’s lakes

The Peoria Fire-Medical Department showed us how a rescue on Lake Pleasant might play out.
The Peoria Fire-Medical Department showed us how a rescue on Lake Pleasant might play out.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 10:06 AM MST
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PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- We’re gearing up for a busy time of year on our area lakes with triple digits approaching and Mother’s Day weekend just a couple of days away.

Two people drowned at Lake Pleasant in recent weeks. One of them was 20-year-old Neria Aranbayez on Sunday, April 24. According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Aranbayez swam from a boat to the shore and was swimming back when he went under and never resurfaced. His body was eventually found 21 feet below the water’s surface.

It was a similar situation over the weekend. A man in his 20s vanished underwater while swimming Sunday afternoon. His body was found 25 feet below the surface near Jet Ski Point on Monday morning. MCSO said he was not wearing a life jacket.

“Our message is no matter if you’re in a boat or paddleboard -- whatever you are out here to do -- if you are anywhere near the water, you need to wear a personal flotation device,” Capt. Mark Barbee with the Peoria Fire-Medical Department. Barbee says firefighters are preparing for an influx of boaters in the coming weeks, prompting the department to increase its resources at the lake.

Between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, the department puts four rescue swimmers at the lake. They can respond to a variety of rescue calls. “This week, since we are expecting a large group, we’ll have an ambulance out here in the parking lot, as well, staffed with two firefighters,” Barbee said.

See what a rescue at the lake might look like

The Peoria Fire-Medical Department showed us how a rescue on Lake Pleasant might play out.

Even though afternoon highs are now well into the 90s, Barbee says the water temperature at the lake was just 65 degrees on Tuesday. That’s cold, and it takes a toll. “Once you enter in the water, you become easily fatigued,” Barbee said.

He says swimmers and boaters should know their limitations and watch out for each other when they’re having fun on the water.

“Some of the common mistakes is they’ve been drinking too much, or they are not hydrated, not anticipating the cooler tempers in the water,” Barbee said.

May is National Water Safety Month.

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