A two-hour search for a man who went underwater while he was swimming in a pond on property on Troy-O’Fallon Road north of Lebanon Road in Madison County on Wednesday ended when the man’s body was recovered.
Madison County Sheriff John Lakin says two men made “a gentleman’s bet” to see who could swim across the pond. One of those men, a 47-year-old from the Collinsville area, did not resurface.
The man’s body was recovered at 5:06 p.m.
“There was some sort of wager or bet that one person could swim the length of the small pond,” Lakin said. “One person made the swim, looked back and the second person was underwater and did not ever resurface. The obvious cause of death at this point is drowning.”
Lakin said several people had been at the home “for several hours” Wednesday afternoon when the wager was made.
“It was a little bit of a gentleman’s bet between two guys, who could swim the farthest,” Lakin said. “One made it and one didn’t.”
Lakin wouldn’t say whether the two men who made the bet were related but said the man who drowned did not live at the home and that “there was some relation” among the people gathered there Wednesday. He said an autopsy would determine whether the man was impaired or suffered a medical problem in the water.
Madison County Sheriff’s deputies first were summoned to the home in a rural area between Troy and O’Fallon at 3:04 p.m. after a caller reported seeing the man enter the water but hadn’t seen him emerge. A police radio transmission from 3:46 p.m. indicated: “This has turned to a recovery. We’re still looking for the body.”
Firefighters from Troy, Maryville, O’Fallon and Swansea assisted in the recovery operation. St. Clair County Special Emergency Services personnel also assisted.