Teen killed in apparent drowning at Lake Manawa identified

Published: May. 28, 2018 at 3:01 PM CDT
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The Omaha teen who died in an apparent drowning at Lake Manawa has been identified as Edgar Gregorio Loarca Garcia, 16.

Dive teams recovered the teen's body Monday after a search effort that lasted for more than two hours.

Crews were called to the scene just after 1 p.m. Monday. Council Bluffs Assistant Fire Chief Derek Williams said that the 16-year-old was with his two siblings on an inflatable tube when he fell off and did not come back up. The other swimmers at Lake Manawa beach knew there was a problem.

"Joined up with everyone in the group and held hands to try to be a human net and see if he's anywhere around,” said witness Matthew Zink.

Because Memorial Day is always busy on Lake Manawa, the Iowa DNR already had boats on the water that could quickly begin the search.

Eventually Council Bluffs and Omaha Rescue and dive teams joined in. A drone gave them a wider perspective of the swimming area.

Investigators asked all boats and people in the water nearby to get out so the sonar wouldn't get confused.

That sonar finally picked up on the teen's body two hours later but it was no longer a rescue mission.

"Time lapse was too great. It was a recovery,” said Williams.

Even with three lifeguards on duty it wasn't enough to prevent a family's heartbreak.

"It's just hard knowing that his family is going to suffer,” said Jackie Harris of Council Bluffs.

The Council Bluffs Fire Department is investigating whether a medical condition may have been the reason the teenager fell into the water. An autopsy will be conducted on Garcia.

The swimming area at the Lake Manawa beach will likely be closed for the remainder of the week.