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Lake Berryessa records fifth drowning of the year

Napa County Sheriff’s deputies recovered the body of a 54-year-old San Francisco man Thursday, Lake Berryessa’s fifth drowning victim of the year.

Mario Alcantar Garcia was reported missing by friends at 4:30 p.m. He had been swimming in the Oak Shores Day Use Area, said Henry Wofford, a spokesperson for the Napa Sheriff’s office.

Using a robot from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, deputies recovered Garcia’s body near shore in 6 feet of water at 7:30 p.m., Wofford said.

“This is another situation where we have a swimmer who has drowned,” said Wofford. “We’ve seen it happen multiple times this year. Swimmers underestimate conditions or the distances they’re attempting to swim.”

Ironically, the Napa Sheriff had posted a video earlier Thursday on Facebook in which Deputy Jeff Scott explains the hazards of lake swimming and recommends safety measures, such as wearing a life jacket or how to fill the lungs with air when tiring.

The Sheriff’s Office was planning to put out a second Lake Berryessa safety video on Friday that will talk about how to save someone who is struggling in the water, Wofford said.

Lake Berryessa is likely to have heavier than usual crowds this weekend due to the heat wave hanging over the Bay Area, Wofford said.

This was the fourth drowning of the year at Oak Shores.

Of the five drowning victims this year, three have been from San Francisco, one from Richmond and one from Vallejo. All were males.

You can reach City Editor Kevin Courtney at or at 707-256-2217.

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