EYEWITNESSES have described how members of the public tried to rescue a man who drowned in a lake at Cotswold Water Park.
The man, in his 20s, disappeared while ‘looking for his missing dog’ in Lake 32. He was spotted “struggling in the water and shouting for help” by onlookers at the tourism attraction near Cirencester at around 1.40pm on Tuesday.
Joanne Pendlebury, from Waterland Outdoor Pursuits which owns part of the lake, said the man was “looking for his missing dog”.
Two men – one aged in his 50s and the other in his 20s – jumped into the water and swam to his location “around 50m from the bank”, eyewitness Agnes Baron said.
But they could not find him after he disappeared under the water.
Underwater search teams worked well into the evening and police confirmed the man’s body had been found just before 8.50pm.
Agnes, 37, said: “I saw he was struggling in the water and shouting for help.
“I ran and raised the alarm. A man who I think was in his fifties jumped into the water accompanied by a strong looking man in his twenties. They got to where he was last seen but could not find him.
“It all happened so quickly.”
Agnes said she wishes she could have done more to help during the incident, which she estimates ‘happened in about five minutes’.
She stayed by the lake near where the kayaks are hired hoping for some news.
“I can’t swim very well so I felt helpless,” she added.
“The more I think about it the more I feel sorry I couldn’t do anything.
“It was a busy day at the park. Everyone had gone there to enjoy the sun.
“I feel really sad this has happened. My thoughts are with the man’s family and friends.”
It is understood the park remained open and police asked people to move away from the lake while the incident was being attended to.
Lake 32 is used for wild water swimming and is assessed annually by the Environment Agency.
The park is leased by Cotswold Water Park Trust and run by a separate management company.
On Tuesday night, a Gloucestershire police spokesman said: “A body has been recovered in connection with the search for a swimmer who had gone missing in the lake at Cotswold Water Park.
“Officers conducted searches along with the National Police Air Service, Severn Area Rescue Association and fire service and the body of a man was pulled from the water shortly before 8.50pm.
“He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner and the man’s next of kin have been informed.”
A spokesman from the Cotswold Water Park Trust said: “The thoughts of everyone at the Cotswold Water Park Trust are with the family and friends of the young man who tragically lost his life at Keynes Country Park on Tuesday.
“Our thanks go to all the emergency services and site operators who worked tirelessly during the search.
“The Trust will not be making any further statements whilst investigation are ongoing.”
Hundreds of visitors were evacuated from the park as police, fire and ambulance crews searched the water.
Staff at nearby Cotswold Country Park and Beach were also assisting the emergency services as they used their beach to mount the rescue.
Rescue teams searched the lake on canoes, while the National Police Air Service searched overhead.
South Western Ambulance Service say they sent a number of resources to the scene, including a hazardous area response team.
An area was roped off as emergency services searched the lake.
The site includes two lakes, one with a small beach for swimming and boats to hire and another with an inflatable water park.