For National EMS Week, reporter Rebekah Sanders takes a lesson in hands-only CPR from AMR paramedics in the azcentral studio. Hannah Gaber/

A man who drowned in the Salt River over the holiday weekend was identified as 20-year-old Taurean Christopher H. Lawler of Phoenix, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. 

Lawler was attempting to swim from the south bank to the north bank of the Lower Salt River just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday when he began to struggle, the sheriff’s office released in a statement Tuesday.

Witnesses said Lawler was under the water for about 10 minutes and didn’t resurface, according to the statement. 

More:Mesa teen drowns in Lake Mary near Flagstaff

Lake Patrol deputies initially searched the area where Lawler was last seen but, didn’t retrieve his body.

Members of the MSCO Search and Recovery Dive Team eventually utilized a submersible, remotely-operated underwater vehicle (ROV) and located Lawler’s body at about 11:45 p.m. Sunday, approximately 25 feet down current from where he initially went under.

The water was 14 feet deep where Lawler’s body was found, according to officials. 

Foul play is not suspected in Lawler’s death. His body has since been taken to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office.

An investigation is ongoing, pending the examiner’s results. 


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