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Fishers man drowns in lake next to IMA

Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News
/ Source: WTHR-TV

Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A 23-year-old man from Fishers drowned in a lake near the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Rescue crews were called to the 38-acre lake west of Michigan Road and north of 38th St. around 2:30a.m. Friday.

Police say a group of four friends who had been drinking were hanging out at the lake. One man, later identified as Joshua Stephenson, went in the water, but did not come back out. His friends called for help when he did not resurface.

"They were out there obviously with no life jackets in the middle of the night, probably should not have been, but unfortunately their evening turned tragic as this gentleman lost his life in the lake, " said Rita Reith, Indianapolis Fire Department.

Rescue crews had some difficulty getting to the scene which is somewhat remote with only gravel roads in and out.

The first diver went into the water shortly after 3:00 a.m., about a half hour after the 911 call came in. The swimmer's body was recovered about 15 minutes later.

Fire officials say the darkness and murky water made the search for Stephenson difficult. His body was found about 60 feet from shore in 15 feet of water.

"An unwise decision to go into the lake and not have a life preserver. Nobody in there with you and not coming back up," said IMPD Sgt. Matthew Mount.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 3,582 fatal, unintentional drownings in the U.S. in 2005. One of the major risk factors is the use of alcohol contributing up to half of adolescent and adult deaths.

The IMA is developing the area where the lake sits. It is called "100 Acres" and is being turned into the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park.