UPDATED 2:47 P.M.
The young men who died after being pulled from Seattle’s Green Lake late Thursday have been identified as Abeney Getachew, 23, of Snohomish County, and Euel Desta, 21, of Shoreline, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s office.
They were in a group of six people who were playing soccer in the park, then decided to go into the lake, a police report said. Some of them were apparently chasing a ball in the water, when Getachew and Desta had trouble staying above the water line. Two in the group re-entered the lake trying to help them, then realized they had sank. Others onshore told police they noticed “four people struggling in the water,” a police report said.
A rescue team of firefighters arrived and took 30 minutes to retrieve Getachew, and another 10 minutes to find Desta, according to a Seattle Fire Department blog post.
The lake bottom was silty and about 17 feet deep. Visibility was only about 4 feet, said fire department spokesman Kyle Moore. Divers noticed that shallow water near that area suddenly becomes deep, he said.
The accident happened at 9:30 p.m., near a buoy 50 yards from shore, a short distance beyond the swimming area. Drowning was ruled the official cause of death, medical examiners said Monday morning.
Police and firefighters’ descriptions do not indicate any alcohol or drug use, among the two victims and friends.
In 2002, a University of Washington student who didn’t know how to swim drowned near the east shore, unaware of a sudden drop-off, according to the UW Daily.