The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victim in yesterday’s drowning as 43 year old Nicasio Gonzalez Lopez from Phoenix. According to the sheriff’s Office, “every year deputies respond to calls of near drownings and drownings at the Salt River, however the drowning of Nicasio is being considered a complete tragedy by seasoned deputies.”
Just before 2:00 p.m., deputies responded to a report of a drowning on the Lower Salt River at Blue Point Bridge. Witnesses and family members stated Nicasio Lopez submerged below the water surface after wading into the river to remove a piece of trash floating.
According to family members Nicasio would visit the Salt River several times a year. Year after year for 17 years, Nicasio would pick up trash left in the area by tubers as soon as he arrived at the river, this visit was no different. As Nicasio attempted to remove a piece of trash from the river, the current forced him into increased water depth and submerged. According to family, Nicasio was in good health however did not know how to swim.
At approximately 2:45 p.m. a large group of people began yelling just downstream indicating they had located Nicasio. Deputies responded via airboat and ground to find him lying on the shore as citizens attempting CPR. Fire personnel were also on scene until CPR efforts were cancelled.
As of this point in the investigation, all evidence obtained indicates this incident is an accidental drowning, absent foul play. Alcohol/drugs do not appear to be factors.