LAKE PLEASANT, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- It was a busy and deadly Memorial Day weekend on Lake Pleasant, as search crews with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) responded to two drowning calls.
Neither victim survived, and four days after a man fell off a jet ski, crews are still combing the lake with divers and underwater equipment to look for his body. MCSO divers have gone on several dives, on back to back days, and that is taking its toll on the divers. Searchers face human limitations and physical challenges while recovering victims at the bottom of Lake Pleasant.
According to investigators, a 22-year-old woman was operating a jet ski when it flipped over during a turn. Her father was riding with her. Officials said the family of the man that fell off the personal watercraft is from California, and they have been going to Lake Pleasant for Memorial Day weekend for the past five years, for an annual family gathering.
"When you add a second person on a personal watercraft, it really does alter the buoyancy and center of gravity," said Det. Rob Marske with MCSO Lake Patrol.
The woman, who had a life vest on, survived. Her father struggled. She and relatives on shore saw him go under.
"Other family members asked him to put one on prior to leaving, and he declined," said Det. Marske.
MCSO divers have been scouring the lake, diving at depths from 20 to 90 feet.
"We did have to refrain from diving yesterday because the first two days were long days, and deep dives, we had enough nitrogen buildup in our bodies," said Det. Marske. "The only way to release it is to take time."
Crews are using sonar technology to scan the area, and an underwater robot feeds back live video. Detectives compare underwater searches to looking for a contact lens in a tub full of water, and with summer around the corner, deputies are urging lake-goers to strap on a life vest. For people who don't have one, there are loaner stations at every Valley lake, and they are free to borrow.
For now, however, a family waits and grieves, while divers and deputies continue looking for their loved one.
"It was accidental, and we just want to provide some closure to them," said Det. Marske.