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Authorities locate body of man believed to be Hollister man swept away in canal


Authorities found a body believed to be the Hollister man who fell into the Delta-Mendota Canal in Tracy at the end of May.

San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority staff reported seeing a body floating in the canal near the Tracy pumping station off South Tracy Boulevard around 7:20 a.m. on June 4, according to Sergeant Roberto Morales, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office public information officer.

Lester Ashcraft, 56, had been out fishing with friends and family on the canal on May 31 when he slipped down a steep embankment and was swept away by the rapid current. His friends and family contacted authorities just before 10 p.m. that night. The group had unsuccessfully tried to rescue Ashcraft, authorities said.

Authorities determined that the body matched the description of Ashcraft, according to a social media post. The San Joaquin County Medical Examiner Investigator located a wallet that contained an identification card for Ashcraft in the deceased’s pants pocket, Morales added, but the coroner has not yet officially identified the body as Ashcraft.

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Authorities enlisted the help of the South County Tracy Fire Department to use a ladder truck and pulleys to remove the body from the water, which had currents that made it too dangerous to enter.

In the days after Ashcraft’s disappearance, authorities conducted a search but had to call it off due to unsafe conditions. They slowed the current of the canal from 3500 cubic feet per second to 900 cubic feet per second, authorities wrote in a social media post. Even with the slower current, the conditions were unsafe for divers to search for Ashcraft.

Ashcraft was entered into the national Missing and Unidentified Persons System and his information was shared with other police departments, authorities said.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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