LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Authorities today identified a man believed to have drowned after falling from a pedal boat that capsized in Echo Park Lake.
Firefighters were sent to the 800 block of North Echo Park Avenue about 3:45 a.m. Thursday in response to a report that two people had fallen into the lake from a capsized pedal boat. First responders located and interviewed a man who made it ashore from the boat, and he told them another man was missing. Searchers used boats -- aided by a helicopter with a powerful light -- to search for the missing man, but found no sign of him.
After about two hours, the rescue efforts ``transitioned to a body-recovery operation,'' according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The body of 23-year-old German Lopez of Los Angeles was recovered from the lake later on Thursday, the coroner's office reported. An autopsy was pending.
Investigators learned that two or three pedal boats apparently had been illegally boarded by several people overnight.``We had individuals that trespassed, possibly stole these three or two floating vessels -- took them out to the lake,'' Los Angeles police Sgt. Frank Preciado told Fox 11.``Our understanding is that on the capsized boat one of the males stood up,'' Preciado said.
``That caused the boat to capsize. That individual swam over to the east side of Echo Park Lake -- made it out -- and (asked) the other two couples ... to please help my friend.''Preciado said the people may have been drinking.
``It's a real bad combination if you don't know how to swim and you're intoxicated,'' Preciado said. ``You shouldn't be around water.''