Portage County: Man drowns, five-year-old saved in reservoir

11:51 PM, Jul 9, 2012   |    comments
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BERLIN -- A 26-year-old man drowned in Berlin Reservoir over the weekend.

According to Mahoning Sheriff's Office reports, the man was trying to swim to a sand bar with a 5-year-old child when about halfway through the swim they encountered problems.

The man was able to keep the child above water until someone from shore could reach them. The victim went under before the rescuers could pull him from the water.

The man has been identified as Cory  Lowder of Canton.  The child rescued was the son of an acquaintance.

41-year-old Robert Christy of Mogadore was at the camp ground with a group of family and friends that day. 

As he watched his children in the water, he noticed the man and boy struggling, 50 yards out.

Christy didn't hesitate, and dove in to try and help Lowder and the child.

"If you have children or have been around children, the amount of innocence there, you have to go try to save them," he said.

When he reached them, Lowder was already gone underwater.

"He had one of [Lowder's] flip flops on his hands. I don't know if that gave him some type of buoyancy, but somehow he hadn't dropped completely below the surface."

"I just asked the little boy to put his arms around my shoulders and continued swimming to shore," Christy said of his actions.

With the boy on his back, Christy swam to the sandbar, where he called back to shore for help.

Fire fighters say the low lake levels have lured many swimmers out over their heads, as they try to reach the sand bars.  A near-drowning occured two weeks ago at Berlin Reservoir.

Lowder's body was found off shore, 45 minutes after he went under.

As a father of three, Christy says, his thoughts are for the child and Lowder's family.

"I don't know if he's old enough to fathom what occured. I hope he has a great life, I really do. And to the family who lost the gentleman, I'm sorry.  I feel horrible for the loss," Christy said.


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