The body of a man described to be in his 30s was pulled from the slow-moving water of the SRP Canal on Monday, but only after it tookauthorities approximately three hours to determine whose jurisdiction he was in.
A jogger discovered the man, whose name has not been released pending notification of relatives, floating in the canal on the Tempe and Mesa border north of Broadway Road and west of El Dorado Circle about 9 a.m. The body was pulled out by members of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Dive Team about noon.
The call first came in to Mesa police, but after they responded to the scene, they called Tempe police who tried to pass the case back to Mesa, according to information from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. The MSCO received a call from Mesa about 9:30 a.m., and an SRP dispatch center was notified about 10 minutes later about a report of an accidental drowning, according to Jeff Lane, an SRP spokesman.
There were no apparent signs of trauma to the man's body, and foul play is not expected in the man's drowning, according to Deputy Aaron Douglass, a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman. Autopsy results are pending from the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office.
The canal falls under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff's office, according to Tempe police.
The Tempe section of the SRP Canal where the man's body was discovered is part of 131 miles of canals that SRP uses to deliver water from reservoirs to customers, but they are owned by the U.S. Department of Reclamation under the Department of the Interior, Lane said.
Lane said that SRP often warns people of the dangers of the canals, especially during peak water delivery times when the canals are full. The depth of the water on Monday was about 4 1/2 feet deep, according to Lane.
"Canals can be very dangerous," Lane said. "We always encourage people to stay away from them. Don't swim in canals and stay away from the edges. The edge of the walls leading down into the canal can be very slippery, making it difficult to climb out of. Vehicles are not allowed to be driven on the banks of the canal as vehicles sometimes have had to be pulled out."
The flow of the water in the canals usually moves about five miles per hour during peak delivery times, but the water in the canal was traveling about two miles per hour on Monday, Lane said.
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