Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, July 04

Drowning victim recovered at Blue Ridge Reservoir

On June 22, Coconino County Sheriff's Office, Gila County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team and Tonto Rim Search and Rescue conducted an underwater search for Austin Smith, 32, of Payson, Arizona, at Blue Ridge Reservoir. Smith's body was recovered later that morning. (Photo/Coconino County Sheriff's Office)

On June 22, Coconino County Sheriff's Office, Gila County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team and Tonto Rim Search and Rescue conducted an underwater search for Austin Smith, 32, of Payson, Arizona, at Blue Ridge Reservoir. Smith's body was recovered later that morning. (Photo/Coconino County Sheriff's Office)

BLUE RIDGE, Ariz. – On June 21, Austin Smith, 32, of Payson, Arizona, was swimming at Blue Ridge Reservoir, also known as C.C. Cragin Reservoir when he went under water near and never resurfaced.

Around 6:07 p.m. Coconino County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and Blue Ridge Fire District responded to the scene. A search of the immediate area was conducted using bystanders’ boats, but the subject was not located. Search operations were suspended as it began to get dark and a plan was developed for an underwater search.

On June 22, CCSO received assistance from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team and Tonto Rim Search and Rescue to conduct an underwater search. As part of the search a Search and Rescue dog trained in human remains detection in water was used to confirm the area to search. Divers searched an area indicated by the search dog and located the missing man around 11:30 a.m.

Smith’s body was recovered from the lake and transferred to the custody of the Coconino County Office of the Medical Examiner. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is grateful for the assistance of the Blue Ridge Fire District, Gila County Sheriff’s Office, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue and the U.S. Forest Service.

Information provided by Coconino County Sheriff's Office

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