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Divers Search Lake Wallenpaupack For Man's Body

Divers have called off Saturday's search at Lake Wallenpaupack for the body of an apparent drowning victim.
Palmyra Township, Pike County -- Divers at Lake Wallenpaupack spent the day looking for the body of 24-year-old Ben Culton of Montgomery County.

The dive teams from Forest, Ledgedale and Tafton Fire Companies were called to Seeley's Marina Friday night. Tafton Dive Team Captain Richard Groo said seven people took two canoes on a late-night outing.

"One canoe capsized, and three people swam over to the other canoe all on one side, which capsized the other canoe, and from there, it was just chaos," said Groo.

Six people made it to the shore, but Culton did not. Divers searched the lake for three hours Friday night. The cold weather and darkness stopped that search until early Saturday morning, when divers re-entered the 45 degree water.

"We like to run our sonar and our robot as much as possible, and we're roughly at a 20 minute stay in the water before we have to come out," said Groo.

Groo said no one was wearing a life jacket when the canoes capsized.

"A life jacket is like a seatbelt," said Groo. "They work. They save lives."

Culton's family and friends huddled along the shore, waiting for answers.

"It's never easy, but somebody has to do it," said Groo. "We don't enjoy it, but we help the community, and it's good closure for the family."

The divers will resume the recovery mission Sunday morning.  State police said the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is leading the investigation.
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