Officials identify man who drowned at lake

Columbia County officials have identified a 31-year-old man they believe drowned late Wednesday at Strom Thurmond Lake.

Jesus Ramirez Gonzalez, of the 300 block of Michelle Way in Augusta, was pronounced dead Thursday morning by Columbia County Assistant Coroner Harriett Garrison.

Gonzalez had been swimming outside the marked swimming beach at the Lake Springs recreation area with two friends , Garrison said. The friends rode out on the lake on personal watercraft while Gonzalez swam, and when the two returned they were unable to find him.

Columbia County dive team members were called and searched the lake until after midnight without success, said Columbia County Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker. When they resumed their search this morning, they found Gonzalez's body floating about 35 feet from shore.