CONNEAUT — A Cleveland family’s trip to the beach ended in tragedy late Sunday afternoon when a 17-year old boy tried to swim between two portions of the Conneaut breakwall, said Conneaut Fire Chief Steve Lee.
Hector Lozada, of Cleveland, went under the water while swimming an estimated 40 feet between the two portions of the breakwall after apparently getting caught in an undertow, said Ashtabula County Coroner’s Investigator Keith Stewart.
Stewart said Lozada was swimming with a cousin and got caught in the undertow.
Stewart said the family arrived at Conneaut Township Park beach around 4:30 p.m. Conneaut Fire Department Assistant Chief Steve Sanford said the emergency call came in at 5:06 p.m.
“The Ashtabula County Water Rescue team was notified,” Lee said.
“When we arrived on the scene we were told a 17-year old was swimming off the westside of the western breakwall,” Sanford said. He said they were told the boy had trouble getting back to the breakwall and went under several times before disappearing.
The water rescue team included units from Saybrook, Wayne, Rome, Monroe, Geneva and Northwest Ambulance responded to the scene, Sanford said. He said once the equipment arrived on the scene and divers were dispatched, the boy was found about 20 feet from the breakwall in about 12 feet of water around 7:11 p.m.
Sanford said there were no resuscitation attempts because the boy was in the water for two hours.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the scene.
Over the years many people have died at or near the breakwall. “I wish there was a way to keep people off that wall,” he said.
anford said there were 10 kids on the breakwall during the rescue attempt.
“We ended up using jet skis. We made them (two boys) get off the breakwall,” Sanford said.
“The thing people don’t understand is the undercurrent,” Sanford said.
The Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office is scheduled to perform an autopsy on the body, Stewart said. He said there were no signs of foul play, alcohol or drugs.