Lake Erie Claims Another Life

CLEVELAND – The need to beat the heat might have led to another drowning in Lake Erie, Action News' Ed Gallek reported.

Many people were at Edgewater Beach on Thursday having fun despite the near-record hot conditions.

Unfortunately for 21-year-old Walter Tate that fun included swimming in a section of the lake blocked off by buoys as a danger zone. After going into that zone, Tate, of Cleveland, went down and didn't come back up.

Rescuers eventually got Tate out of the water and desperately tried to save his life to no avail.

Antonio DelGado said that he saw it all happen.

"When you pass those pins, it gets deep," DelGado said. "He started splashing water. I looked up, and the lifeguard seemed to have seen it."

I was about 20 feet away," swimmer Carl Hafner said. "He just went into the water and never came back up."

Park ranger Dave Frank said that rescuers did all that they could to try to save Tate.

"The lifeguard that was in the chair physically saw him go down," Frank said. "She and several swimmers went out to try to find him."

Officials said that Tate and his friends had been swimming in the danger zone despite the lifeguard's repeated warnings for the men to come back in. Fellow beachgoers backed up that story.

"They were whistling for them to come back in," swimmer Tina Hafner said. "They were hollering, but I think they were too far out and couldn't hear her."

Officials said that in light of this latest drowning, buoys that serve as warnings should be taken seriously. The particular danger zone that Tate drowned in was blocked off because of how deep it is and because boats go by there.