New details emerge in search for Belmont County drowning victim

Ohio Headlines

What started as a great day for a picnic and a swim quickly turned into a nightmare in Belmont County.

Authorities have been using underwater radar in the search for the 32-year-old man they say drowned Tuesday.

Eladio Gonzalez and Michael Pyle, the man’s friends, say they jumped in the pond to cool off, and decided to race towards a fountain in the middle of the lake.

Pyle says that they got stuck in seaweed and backed off, while their friend kept going, even signaling a thumbs-up.

Then he went underwater.

“He was just under, and we went back trying to find him,” said Pyle. “I mean we tried.”

Pyle and Gonzalez began searching for their friend, but they were unsuccessful. 

“I said call 911, and I continued searching for him,” said Gonzalez, “but the murkiness of the water, and you know the other things that have played into that, it just wasn’t possible.”

Pyle and Gonzalez say they will stay at the lake until their friend is found, but never want to return.

They want their friend to be remembered as a kind, caring and generous man, as well as a loving father to his two young children.

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