Yucca Valley man drowns at Big Bear Lake

The holiday weekend at Big Bear Lake turned tragic when a swimmer drowned and died Monday.

The victim, 18-year-old Nathan Wayne Hopper of Yucca Valley, had been swimming with friends toward rocks off the Boulder Bay Park shoreline on the morning of July 5, according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Hopper’s friends swam ahead of him and reached the other side of the shore before they realized they had lost track of their friend. The Yucca Valley man was swimming alone some distance away before his friends heard his calls for help prior to sinking beneath the lake’s surface, the sheriff's department confirmed.

When his friends couldn’t find him, rescue dive team members from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department came to help, but found Hopper too late. Rescuers recovered Hopper’s body nearly two hours later. He was pronounced dead on the scene. He had been swimming in about 14 feet of water.

Det. Greg Carpenter of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department said the exact circumstances of his death are still uncertain.

Boulder Bay Park, located on the west side of the Big Bear Lake area, is set aside for a number of recreational activities including picnicking, swimming and fishing.