PETERS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The body of a Washington County man who disappeared Friday while swimming in a local lake with friends has been recovered.
The Washington County Coroner’s Office has identified the man as 21-year-old Joseph Schneider of Houston, Pa.
Authorities say Schneider was trying to swim across Canonsburg Lake in Peters Township when he went missing on Friday evening.
“He was a very free and loving person,” said Amber Fedorchak, a friend of the victim. “He was always happy, just enjoyed life.”
“He was a wild, free-spirit guy,” added Brian Smith, another friend of the victim. “He was a real good kid.”
Authorities say Schneider and his three friends went to the lake after a party and decided to go swimming. Two of them swam across, one got out because the water was too cold, and Schneider disappeared.
“When the other two got across, Mr. Schneider was not in sight,” said Capt. Michael Yanchak, of the Peters Township Police Department. “There was a pickup truck that had delivered them to the parking lot. They searched for him themselves, were unable to locate him.”
The Mon Valley Dive Team, North Strabane Police Department and firefighters with Peters Township and North Strabane were all called in to help in the search.
The divers and rescuers searched the murky waters of Canonsburg Lake for nearly 12 hours before they found Schneider’s body.
According to the coroner’s office, divers recovered Schneider’s body around noon today.
“He was recovered, according to the personnel here, in about 30 feet of water,” said Tim Warco, the Washington County Coroner.
Warco says an autopsy and other tests will determine the official cause of death.
“Obviously, the temperature impairs body function, body movement, muscular skeletal movement and the individual succumbs to death,” says Warco. “If we’re talking about an individual under any influence of alcohol and/or drugs that further impairs their ability to swim.”
Authorities say the Pennsylvania Game Commission prohibits swimming at the lake.