Emergency rescue personnel on Monday recovered the body of a man who died after struggling and becoming submerged underwater while swimming in Lake Del Valle in Livermore one day earlier.
The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau on Tuesday identified the drowned man as Joseph Prince Freeman, 40, of Pleasant Hill. Police said the victim also had residential ties to Vallejo.
"Our thoughts are with the family. This is obviously a tragic situation," Capt. Alan Love, of the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) Police Department, told the Weekly.
The situation unfolded around 5 p.m. Sunday when a 911 call came in reporting a swimmer in distress in the area of Heron Bay in Lake Del Valle, a reservoir open for recreational boating and swimming whose regional park is overseen by EBRPD.
Love said it appeared Freeman was free swimming off a rental boat when he started to struggle, became submerged and could not be located.
Multiple agencies assisted EBRPD police and rangers, including an Alameda County Sheriff's Office dive team, as crews searched for the lost swimmer into Sunday night until it became unsafe to keep looking in the darkness, Love said. The rescuers picked up their search at first light on Monday morning.
Freeman's body was located and removed from the water just before noon Monday, according to Love. Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said the body was found using sonar and underwater robot technology in an area that is approximately 150 feet deep.
Investigators are awaiting autopsy results from the coroner to confirm the cause of death, according to Love. Freeman's death represents the first reported in Lake Del Valle in 2021.
"Obviously this is a tragic incident," Love said, adding a reminder that EBRPD officials "encourage everyone in the lake to wear personal floatation devices, regardless of their swimming capabilities." More water safety tips can be found on the EBRPD website.
Other agencies to assist in the search included the Livermore-Pleasanton and Alameda County fire departments, according to the captain.