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Man drowns at Point Douglas Beach

A 40-year-old West St. Paul man drowned in the St. Croix River at Point Douglas Beach Sunday.

Juan Gabriel Diaz was the victim.

According to information provided by the Washington County Sheriff's Office, witnesses saw Diaz go under the water while he was swimming from the swim area designation buoys back to the shore. Witnesses said he had called for help just prior to going under the water and did not come back up. Witnesses were unable to locate the man. A 911 call was made at 5:05 p.m.

Deputies from Washington County, Dakota County, Pierce County, the Hastings Fire Department and the Washington County Multi-Agency Dive/Rescue Team responded and conducted a search for the man. His body was found by a diver at 6:20 p.m. within the designated swim area in about 10 feet of water. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Washington County Sgt. Tim Harris said that it appeared the man was having a routine day at the beach and there was nothing suspicious about the incident. Although water levels were still high on the St. Croix River (a no-wake zone was still in effect at the time), he said the only effect the high water had on the Point Douglas Beach swimming area was to make the water deeper. The swim area is typically 5 to 6 feet deep, he said, and high water made it 8 to 10 feet deep. Harris said the swim area is still considered safe within the designated swim area, which is marked with buoys. There is no lifeguard at the beach.