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Man drowns in Geneva Lake after jumping off boat

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Darryl Enriquez
July 15, 2011
— A 24-year-old Chicago man apparently drowned in Geneva Lake around 5 p.m. Wednesday, said Tim Rasch, fire chief and head of the emergency medical response team.

The victim was Gjergji Peci, Walworth County Coroner John Griebel said. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning.


Peci was found in 18 feet of water near a private pier on the south side of the lake, Rasch said.


Emergency personnel were called to locate a missing swimmer. Witnesses reported that three men had been in the water 150 yards from shore. A passing watercraft picked up two of the swimmers but could not locate the third, Rasch said.


Ted Pankau, director of the water safety patrol on Geneva Lake, said the three men were in a motorboat when one jumped overboard to cool off in the lake.


A moderate wind pushed the boat away from the swimmer, and he couldn’t make it back to the quickly drifting watercraft.


As the first man tired, a second man in the boat jumped in to help, but the boat drifted from them as they tried swimming to it.


As they tired, the third and last man in the boat jumped into the lake. The boat continued to drift, and none of them could reach the craft.


Another boater who was watching the struggling swimmers rescued two of them. The third could not be found.


Dive rescue teams from Linn Township and Fontana found the body shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday. Griebel pronounced the man dead at the scene.


The last drowning in Geneva Lake was three years ago.



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