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Man found dead in Calexico canal

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IID employees saw a man jump in the canal and never resurface - CBS 13 on your side's Vanessa Gongora reports

CALEXICO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - One man was found dead Wednesday evening in the Central Main Canal behind Ashley Furniture located on Rockwood Avenue.

According to the Calexico Police Department, two IID employees saw a man enter the canal near the hydro electric plant around 1:15 pm.

IID Governmental Affairs Officer, Antonio Ortega, says the IID employees saw the man go into the water and it seemed like he was struggling to swim because he was going underneath the water and back up before he completely disappeared.

The IID employees then called the Calexico Police Department. The California Highway Patrol Air Support and El Centro Sector's Border Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) Unit were also called in to assist in locating the body.

According to Ortega, he says the IID employees didn't see any active pursuit of the individual or anything of that sort that would potentially be a factor of why the man jumped in.

"A reminder for us adults that canals in our community are very dangerous and although sometimes it may feel like or it may seem from the surface that the water is not traveling at high speeds or that it's okay because it doesn't seem like it's deep, it's always dangerous to be near canals," says Ortega. "To think you can swim in a canal is actually something we urge you not to do."

BORSTAR divers conducted a thorough search when they arrived on scene and recovered the body at about 6:20 pm.

"These types of search and rescue events serve as a reminder that anyone, even potentially strong swimmers, should think twice about trying to swim in the irrigation canals." says US Border Patrol Agent John Mendoza. "Individuals face a great risk when they attempt to enter irrigation canals and are unfamiliar with the strong, swift moving currents that can occur underneath the surface of the water."

The man was pronounced dead by the Calexico Fire Department.

There is no word yet on his identity or why he was in the area.

Ortega says this particular canal, the Central Main Canal, is one of three largest tributaries of canals that come to the Imperial Valley from the Colorado River and the water flow for the season can change consistently.

"Our canals are here because they're helping deliver thousands of acre feed of water to farm fields for irrigating our farmland," Ortega explains. "So during the high season of a lot of agricultural activity, there's more water orders meaning that the canals have more water flowing through them."

He says one of the main missions of IID's water safety and education campaign is to keep folks away from the canals to prevent these types of incidents.

Article Topic Follows: Imperial County
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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA News 11 team in 2021.

You can contact her with story ideas at vanessa.gongora@kecytv.com

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