Body recovered after swimmer disappears in Lake Worth

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by LAUREN ZAKALIK

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaalauren

WFAA

Posted on July 5, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 5 at 10:58 PM

Lake Worth Marina Park

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LAKE WORTH — It was a deadly weekend on the calm waters of Lake Worth after a 38-year-old man drowned, possibly while trying to rescue a family member.

"His brother told me that he was saving his nephews and kids, he pulled [them] out and he drowned," said bystander Irma Zizzo.

Zizzo has lived on Lake Worth for 15 years, and has never seen or heard of anything like this happening near her home.

"The conditions over here are real good," she said.

But smooth waters can be deceivingly dangerous. Fort Worth Fire Deputy Chief Tim Hatch said Melchor Martinez of Oklahoma City was about 70 yards from shore when he disappeared under water and never came up.

MedStar's Matt Zavadsky says conditions at that spot go from shallow to incredibly deep with no warning. Divers discovered the body an hour after the man went missing.

"We're unsure whether or not the family said he was able to swim," Zavadsky said. "However it does appear he went down very quickly and wasn't able to come to the surface for some reason."

This is the first drowning in North Texas this holiday weekend; last year, four people lost their lives in water tragedies.

At Lewisville Lake Saturday, there was a close call. A child was rescued from the water there.

Saturday's incident at Lake Worth is an extreme reminder of the potential peril in our lakes. Many of those reservoirs are drought-stricken, exposing dangers you might not expect —  like drop-offs or debris.

"They're very ... broken-heart[ed]," Zizzo said of Martinez' family. "God help them."

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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