Las Vegas man dies in crash of watercraft at Lake Mohave

By DAVE HAWKINS

KINGMAN, Ariz. — Five men lost their lives on area waters over the Memorial Day weekend, with two of the deaths occurring at Lake Mohave.

National Park Service spokesman Andrew Munoz said a Las Vegas man was fatally injured Sunday when the personal watercraft he was operating was struck by another near Six-Mile Cove. The victim was identified as Jose Rivas, 38.

The operator of the other watercraft, Juan Carlos Maldonado-Mejia, 34, of Las Vegas, was arrested by Nevada game wardens on charges of involuntary manslaughter, operating under the influence of alcohol and failure to keep a lookout.

The second fatality on Lake Mohave occurred Monday at 4:30 p.m. Munoz said John Silva, 42, of El Monte, Calif., didn’t surface after he jumped into the water from a boat on the Nevada side of the lake. A search effort was unsuccessful and Silva was considered missing and presumed drowned.

“The tragic part of these deaths this weekend were that they were wholly preventable,” Munoz said. “One guy was killed by a collision as a result of operating under the influence, and the other guy jumped in the river without a life-jacket.”

Three other holiday weekend deaths were reported on the Colorado River. Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Edwin Lyngar said Alberto Garcia, 40, drowned Saturday about 4 p.m. on the Nevada side of the river near the Harrah’s beach in Laughlin.

Lyngar said the Colton, Calif., man became entangled with a rope attached to an anchor of a boat that was dragging the river bottom. He said the current was strong enough at that location to pull and hold Garcia under water even though he was wearing a life vest.

Another drowning along casino row in Laughlin was reported Sunday night. The deceased was wanted on a charge of lewdness with a minor.

Las Vegas police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said security personnel tried to stop the man before he jumped from the dock of the Edgewater Casino into the river. She said he refused efforts to help him and disappeared in the river.

The body of the man, whose name was not available, was recovered on the Arizona side of the river Monday morning.

The fifth fatality occurred Sunday at the Needles Marina, on the California side of the river by the Needles bridge. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Smith identified the victim as Joel Michael Arreola, 40, Whittier, Calif.

Smith said Arreola was swimming with friends when he struggled and slipped under the surface. Friends pulled him from the water but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

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