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Mar-03-2014 01:06printcomments

Man Drowns While Scuba Diving in Clear Lake

Dive personnel located the diver's body 40 feet underwater approximately 100 yards north of the Clear Lake Lodge.

Death investigation

(ALBANY) - Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports his deputies are investigating a drowning that occurred at Clear Lake, located on Hwy 126 near the Santiam Pass. On March 2, 2014, at 12:23 p.m. the sheriff's office received a 9-1-1 call reporting that a group of three men had been scuba diving and one did not surface.

James Paul Ward, 49 years old, of Forest Grove was diving in Clear Lake with longtime friend Christopher Todd Baggarley, 46 years old, of Banks and his 24-year-old son, Todd Michel Baggarley also from Forest Grove.

All three were diving together at approximately 10:00 a.m. when Mr. Ward indicated he was going to surface. Mr. Ward was seen ascending to the surface and did not signal any distress. Mr. Ward is described as an experienced diver.

The Baggarleys continued their dive and surfaced about 20 minutes later at which time they discovered Mr. Ward missing. They were not able to locate Mr. Ward on the shore or at their cabin. A search of the shoreline failed to locate Mr. Ward so they contacted Linn County Parks personnel at the resort. Due to lack of telephone coverage, park personnel had to drive to the Hwy 20/ Hwy 126 junction to call 9-1-1.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Sweet Home Fire dive personnel located Mr. Ward's body 40 feet underwater approximately 100 yards north of the Clear Lake Lodge. The water temperature was 39 degrees. Mr. Ward's scuba tank was found to still have approximately 2000 lbs of air. At this time, no malfunction of Mr. Ward's diving equipment was found.

Mr. Ward's body was taken to Aasum Funeral Home in Albany.

Deputies were assisted by the Sweet Home Fire Department and the Linn County Parks Department.

This investigation is continuing.

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