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Diver drowns in Clear Lake

Clear Lake LodgeCLEAR LAKE: Linn County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of an experienced scuba diver found in the waters of Clear Lake on Sunday. Sheriff Bruce Riley reports his deputies are investigating a drowning that occurred on March 2nd. At 12:23 p.m. the sheriff’s office received a 9-1-1 call reporting that a group of three men had been scuba diving and one did not surface.

James Paul Ward, 49, of Forest Grove was diving in Clear Lake with longtime friend Christopher Todd Baggarley, 46, of Banks and his 24-year-old son, Todd Michel Baggarley, also from Forest Grove.

All three were diving together at approximately 10 a.m. when Ward indicated he was going to surface. The Baggarleys saw him ascend to the surface. He did not signal any distress. Ward is described as an experienced diver.

The father and son continued their dive and surfaced about 20 minutes later when they discovered Ward missing. They were not able to locate him on the shore or at their cabin. A search of the shoreline failed to locate Ward so they contacted the Linn County Parks personnel at the resort. Due to lack of telephone coverage, park workers had to drive to the Hwy. 20/Hwy. 126 junction to call 9-1-1.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Sweet Home Fire divers located Ward’s body 40 feet underwater approximately 100 yards north of the Clear Lake Lodge. The water temperature was 39 degrees. Ward’s scuba tank was found to still have approximately 2,000 lbs of air. At this time, no malfunction of Ward’s diving equipment was found.

Ward’s body was taken to Aasum Funeral Home in Albany.

The Sweet Home Fire Department and the Linn County Parks Department assisted the deputies.

This investigation is continuing, according to Sheriff Riley.

Image above: The body of a missing scuba dive was found about 100 yards north of the Clear Lake Lodge, 40 feet under the surface.


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