South Gate Man Dies on Boating Outing After Jumping Into Lake Havasu to Retrieve Hat: SBSD

A 29-year-old man who was boating with his friends on Lake Havasu this weekend died after jumping into the water to retrieve a hat, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

Lake Havasu is seen in a file photo. (Credit:Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Time)

Lake Havasu is seen in a file photo. (Credit:Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Time)

Steven Cornejo, of South Gate, was in the area of Red Rock Cove around 4:30 p.m. Saturday when the hat was blown from the group’s rented pontoon boat, according to a sheriff’s news release.

Cornejo jumped in the water to retrieve the object, but was unable to make it back to the drifting watercraft amid winds that reached 25 mph, the release stated.

Other passengers were unsuccessful in their attempts to assist Cornejo, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

A sheriff’s Marine Enforcement Unit responded to the lake, but rescue efforts were suspended at dusk.

Steven Cornejo is seen in a photo posted to a GoFundMe page.

Steven Cornejo is seen in a photo posted to a GoFundMe page.

The search began again the following morning with the help of the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. Utilizing sonar operations, authorities were able to locate the victim, who was discovered at a depth of about 50 feet, according to the release.

Divers brought Cornejo’s body to the surface shortly before 5:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the department.

Cornejo was the father of a 5-year-old daughter and enjoyed hanging out with his three younger brothers, as well as other family members and friends, according to a GoFundMe page.

“His smile and charisma were unforgettable,” the page stated.

A cause of death was not immediately released by the county coroner’s office. The incident is under investigation.