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Police Identify 21-Year-old Man who Drowned in Choctawhatchee River

An afternoon of swimming at the Choctawhatchee River Sunday turned into a rescue attempt leaving one dead and another in critical condition.

The area of the Choctawhatchee River just across the Dale County line is frequented by off road enthusiasts and swimmers alike during the summer months.

But on Sunday afternoon the scene was a much different one as 21 year old Raul Ortiz Ortega fell victim to a deep crevice in the stream.

"Went back to help him get out of this pocket of water, and he pulled him into it and then they had to basically rescue both of them but Raul did not make it."

Water level around the bridge is about 1-2 feet deep but if you look around the curve, you'll see water that can drop off to 10 feet causing an inexperienced swimmer to panic and possibly drown

Alabama power owns the land around the scene, and leases it to a man for hunting. It is posted in several areas to keep out.

But one difficulty is the depth of the water around the area, as anyone who can get in at all, can easily bypass the fence.

"When I drove up down there was a family that was standing in the middle of this river and it was up to their waist, and I was surprised at that"

Ortegas family in Mexico was notified of his death on Sunday, but authorities say the incoming hurricane makes communication with them difficult.

Representatives from the Daleville police department say they will now make an effort to keep people out of that area of the river.


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