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Teen’s body recovered from Springfield Lake

7/3/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Area fire department personnel, as well as the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, shown above, searched for Camden Cole. Springfield Police Department also helped in the effort.
Shown from left are Green Fire Chief Jeff Funai, Springfield Police Department Sgt. Eric East and Springfield Fire Chief Vic Wincik during a press conference about the search for Camden Cole, a Springfield teen who went missing while swimming in Springfield Lake July 1.
Photos: Maria Lindsay
SPRINGFIELD — Divers and rescue crews from area fire departments recovered July 2 the body of a 16-year-old male who is suspected of drowning in the west end of Springfield Lake.

Springfield Police Department Sgt. Eric East identified the teen as Camden Cole.

He was a Springfield High School student and son of Springfield residents Scott and Tammy Cole, according to Lakemore Village Councilman Richard Cole, who said he is Camden’s second cousin. Camden was one of the couple’s four children.

“The family is extremely distraught,” said Richard Cole after Camden’s body was found. “I hope faith and prayers will get them through this.”

East said Cole’s body was taken to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s office to determine the official cause of death.

East said Cole was swimming with another 16-year-old boy the evening of July 1 from the shore to a buoy that was about 500 feet away, and when the other boy reached the buoy and looked around for Cole, he noticed he was in distress. East said the youth attempted to help Cole, but discovered he could not and swam to shore to get help. Several people nearby attempted to help, but could not find Camden.

Camden Cole
Photo courtesy of Springfield Local Schools
According to East, rescue and dive teams from area fire departments, including Springfield, Lakemore, Green, Coventry, New Franklin and Akron, as well as the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary responded to the search at about 7:30 p.m. The Springfield Police Department also provided assistance. The lake was closed to activity and the west end of Canfield Road was closed off during the search, according to township officials.

East said the dive team searched the area with boats using sonar to scan the bottom of the lake until 11 p.m. July 1, but called off the effort due to darkness, diver fatigue and lightning in the area.

Green Fire Chief Jeff Funai said five rescue boats searched a “warm area” — the area the boy was last seen — in a back-and-forth pattern using sonar, and divers went down to check areas marked with buoys.

“It was a very aggressive search initially for the boy,” said Springfield Fire Chief Vic Wincik. “Divers had 8 to 12 inches of visibility initially, which decreased as mud was stirred up during the search.”

The effort resumed at about 7 a.m. the next day. His body was found at about 11:21 a.m. in about 10 feet of water, according to East.

“Our prayers go out to the family,” said East during a press conference that morning. “They are a strong, tight-knit group and the community is standing by them.”

East said Camden was reported to be a “good swimmer” and they do not know what caused him to become distressed. Alcohol is not considered to be a factor, according to East. He added the lake has a “slight current that loops west” and no swimming is allowed from public areas, but swimming is permitted from boats in the lake and off private property. Camden and his companion were swimming from private property. East said Camden’s swimming companion was “very distressed and was being evaluated for shock” after the incident.

East stated the last time someone drowned in Springfield Lake was in 1983.

“As tragic as this event is, it’s a reminder of the hazards of the lake,” said Wincik. “This is a reminder of the need for safety and the acceptance of the limits of [swimming] ability.”

Springfield High School had grief counseling available to members of the community July 2 at Lakeview Lighthouse Church, according to township officials.

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