The man who died Sunday morning at Modesto Reservoir Regional Park has been identified by the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office as a Modesto resident, 70-year-old Clifton Conway.
The cause of death has yet to be determined, the Coroner’s Office reported. The incident occurred in the 9 a.m. hour. With a family member, Conway had just unloaded a boat from a trailer at the west boat ramp, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Witnesses reported that Conway was in the water, “meandering in the 5 mph area,” said Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Eric DeHart, and then headed to shore to beach the boat.
Conway sat on the edge of the boat and then, “it appeared under his own decision, not like he slipped,” he went down into the water again, DeHart said. He may have been checking for rocks before pushing the boat ashore.
Conway then began swimming, not vigorously, but quickly began struggling and went beneath the surface, according to witnesses, the battalion chief said.
Two bystanders went in after Conway, found him and pulled him ashore. They performed CPR, which continued as Conway was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he died.
“Please remember to always wear your life vest,” Stanislaus Consolidated said in a tweet about the apparent drowning.