FARMINGTON >> A 28-year-old man drowned at Navajo Lake on Sunday afternoon.
Travis Benally, of Farmington, was the first drowning death in the lake this year.
Emergency response crews were called to the lake around 1:45 p.m. because of a possible drowning, San Juan County Fire Marshall Chris Cardin said.
Benally was with his young nephew, who was about 10 years old. The boy said he saw Benally go underwater and never saw him come back to shore, according to an incident report by the New Mexico State Parks Division.
Benally drowned close to shore below the Pinon Loop campground, Jim Winchester, a spokesman for the parks division, said in an email.
The search for his body was delayed because of an afternoon thunderstorm. The San Juan County Fire Department Dive Team recovered the body from the water at about 7:10 p.m. according to the incident report.
Benally was found in about four-feet of water near where he was last seen, Winchester said.
"The death was classified as a drowning and no foul play is suspected," he said.
The exact cause of the drowning was unknown. Benally wasn't wearing a life jacket.
Benally is the second person to die at Navajo Lake this year. The first death was ruled a suicide.
There have been six drownings there since 2011.
In 2012, three people drowned in the lake. One of the fatalities was a cliff diver. A 4-year-old and a 19-year-old drowned in the houseboat cove.
In 2011, a mother and child drowned when their boat capsized, There was another unattended death at the park and a person died of a heart attack while swimming.
Excluding the cliff diver, four swimmers have died in Navajo Lake since 2011.
Ryan Boetel covers crime and San Juan County for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.