Wapato Man Drowns at the Buena Ponds - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wapato Man Drowns at the Buena Ponds

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BUENA, Wash - A 21-year old Wapato man has drowned at the Buena Ponds.  This is the third drowning in central Washington in the last five days.  The two drownings this weekend were in area rivers, but a spokesperson for the Yakima County Sheriff's Office says ponds can be just as dangerous.  They warn people about steep slopes in them.  That is what happened to Glberto Dominguez today in Buena.  He slid down one of those slopes and could no longer touch the bottom, causing him to drown.

"We tried to help him out as much as we could, but we couldn't do anything," says Jose Moreles, who was in the water with Dominguez.

Moreles says Dominguez and his five friends were fishing when they decided to cool off in the water.  They planned to stay where they could all touch the bottom becaue they don't know how to swim.  Sheriff deputies say just off the shore there was a severe drop off.

"I was right next to him but he tried to go deeper and he started to drown and I saw him struggling and tried to pull him out," says Moreles. 

After Dominguez went under water around one in the afternoon, his friends tried to find him for 45 minutes before calling 911.

Divers from the Sheriff's Office were able to locate Dominguez almost two hours after he got into the pond.  Friends and family members watched on the shore waiting for the county coroner to come and take Dominguez's body.

All three of the people who drowned in central Washington in the last five days were not wearing life vests.

"We just recommend you go in these ponds, go in the river wear a personal floatation device, wear that life jacket," says Sargeant John Durand off the YSO.

Sgt. Durand adds that all canals, rivers and ponds are dangerous and even people who are strong swimmers need to wear a life jacket.