Body of boater missing after collision on El Capitan Reservoir found

LAKESIDE, Calif. - Lifeguard divers Friday afternoon recovered the body of a 20-year-old man killed in a boat crash at the El Capitan Reservoir that also claimed the life of his companion.

The discovery in the lake off El Monte Road in the Lakeside area occurred about 12:30 p.m., roughly 17 hours after the accident occurred, said Lee Swanson, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The county Medical Examiner's Office was called in to take custody of the body.

"The team anticipates continuing to dive through the afternoon to search for debris evidence," Swanson said.

The victims, whose names were withheld pending family notification, were aboard a drifting vessel that was struck by a speeding boat shortly before 7:30 p.m. Thursday, according to police. Both vessels capsized.

Witness Doug Burke told 10News, "The blue and white Nitro came flying through the no-wake zone. I raised my hands up; they waved me off, like you know, 'It's no big deal.' ... After they came flying through, after they waved me off, I heard the impact."

"He was running at a high rate of speed hugging the shoreline tightly, and as soon as he got out of view from us, 'Boom!'" witness Todd Holverson said. "The boat that got hit had a big hole through the middle; just looked like the blue boat launched through the boat and came over backwards."

Emergency personnel immediately found the body of one of the victims, a 21-year-old man, but the other was missing.

The two occupants of the other boat suffered numerous minor cuts and bruises and were taken to a hospital.

Divers searched the reservoir, which is owned by the city of San Diego, for the second victim until they had to suspended the effort due to darkness. The multi-agency recovery operation resumed Friday morning.

San Diego police are handling the criminal investigation.

El Capitan Reservoir was closed Friday due to the search.

The Patrick Henry High School football team posted on its website Friday that former player Russell Mendez was killed in the collision. However, authorities have not released the identities of anyone involved in the crash.

"It is with great sadness and sorrow that we say goodbye to a former Patriot," the statement read. "Russell Mendez, a former varsity Linebacker for Patrick Henry, died yesterday in boating accident at El Capitan Reservoir. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family."

Friends and family members identified the other man killed in the collision as Jeffry Ingram.

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