Man Drowns Trying To Help Others At Willow Springs Lake


A 40-year-old Surprise man drowned Sunday morning when his canoe overturned in a popular Mogollon Rim lake.

Saul Olivarez was reportedly attempting to help two people after their canoe upturned when his canoe overturned in Willow Springs Lake, the second most visited lake on the Mogollon Rim, after Woods Canyon.

The two people made it out of the lake safely, but Olivarez went missing, said a Gila County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson in a release.

A deputy from the Forest Lakes area and the Forest Lakes Fire Department searched the 150-acre lake for Olivarez, but could not locate him.

Using dive equipment, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office and National Park Service Glen Canyon dive rescue teams searched the lake throughout the evening, but with no luck. The search was suspended overnight and resumed Monday morning. At 4 p.m., searchers located Olivarez’s body.


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