33-year-old Las Cruces man drowns at Elephant Butte

33-year-old Las Cruces man drowns at Elephant Butte

POSTED: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 2:41pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 9:17am

New Mexico State Parks spokesperson Beth Wojahn has confirmed that 33-year-old Jerry Navarro, of Las Cruces died of an apparent drowning at Elephant Butte on Monday.

Wojahn says that Navarro was on a pontoon boat with several members of his family on Monday when he decided to get into the water with his young son. Navarro's son was wearing a life vest, but he was not.

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While the two were in the water, they became separated from the pontoon boat and floated away. Navarro went into distress in the water and called for help from his family, however because Navarro had been operating the pontoon boat, his family was unable to reach him in the water immediately.

Wojahn said Navarro was airlifted from Elephant Butte to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment. At the time of transport, Navarro had a pulse, but he died as a result of the drowning at the UNMH on Tuesday.

NM State Parks would like to emphasize to all boaters and swimmers the importance of wearing appropriate floatation devices while at Elephant Butte. Wojahn says that conditions at the lake are very different from swimming in a pool, and even strong swimmers can get into distress under certain lake conditions.

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