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Kent man drowns in Lake Tapps
Dive teams from East Pierce Fire and Rescue and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office searched the swim area at the county park on the north end of Lake Tapps for a man who was reported to have disappeared under the water around 3 p.m. Saturday.
Crews from the Valley Regional Fire Authority also responded.
According to bystanders, the man, identified by the County Medical Examiner as Peter Talaga, 31, of Kent, entered the water in the park’s swimming area to retrieve a plastic ball.
Divers recovered the man approximately 40 minutes after he was last seen. Paramedics attempted to resuscitate him, but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead on scene.
The cause of death is still being investigated, but East Pierce Spokesperson Dina Sutherland said hypothermia was most likely a cause.
“Cold water removes heat from the body 25 times faster than cold air. As the body’s temperature drops, blood is shunted away from the arms and legs to protect the core and vital organs, making swimming or even treading water difficult,” she said.
Sutherland warned swimmers to be cautious in the glacier-fed waters of Lake Tapps, even on warm days.