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55-year-old dies while swimming to boat floating away from shore

Published On: May 19 2014 08:14:34 PM CDT
Updated On: May 19 2014 08:14:40 PM CDT

ROME, Wis. -

A 55-year-old man drowned in Lake Camelot when he jumped in the water and tried to swim after his pontoon boat that was floating away from shore, police said.

The Rome Police Department responded to the Lake Camelot Property Owner’s Association boat landing in the 300 block of Eighth Avenue for a report of a possible drowning around 9:50 a.m. Monday, according to a release.

Officers found a man face down on the shore at the Salisbury Beach Club, officials said. The man’s neighbor and witness at the scene told police they had just pulled the man from Lake Camelot.

The neighbor said he was helping Gregory P. Koceja, 55, of Waxahachie, Texas, launch his pontoon boat at the boat landing when the boat drifted away, according to the release. Koceja took his jacket and shoes off and jumped into the water swimming after his boat. The neighbor yelled at Koceja several times to leave the boat and come back to shore, but he didn’t listen.

The neighbor boarded the pontoon boat that had drifted to shore north of the boat landing, and attempted to pull Koceja onto the boat, but was unable to get him onboard, officials said. When the boat drifted back to the shore bystanders were able to help get Koceja out of the water and started resuscitation efforts.

Officers continued resuscitation efforts, but were unsuccessful, according to the release. Koceja was pronounced dead by the Adams County Medical Examiner at the scene.

Koceja did not have a personal flotation device on, and none was found on the pontoon boat, officials said. The incident remains under investigation.

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