Man dead after falling into White Rock Lake

Update: Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans  says DFR was called to the scene at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday after a body was seen floating on the surface. 

The body has been identified as Joe Cunningham.

Police and rescuers reportedly called off the search for a 57-year-old Joe Cunningham of Tyler, TX after 9 p.m. Saturday.

They were unable to locate the man who witnesses say fell from a paddleboard near the West Lawther side of White Rock Lake at about 3:40 p.m. after a large gust of wind swept over the waters. A dive team immediately arrived at the scene, but likely not in time to save the man.

According to the police report, the man went under the water and never resurfaced.

A gut-wrenching report on WFAA tells of two witnesses, twin brother and sister, who went into the water after seeing both the man and his 21-year-old son, neither in lifejackets, fall from their boards.

“His son was trying to paddle towards him cause his paddle had gotten away, swam off somewhere, but he was paddling with his arms and he couldn’t get him cause the wind was pushing him further away,” Biannca said.

The twins said the man stayed above water for about five minutes and then he went under.  That’s when Briandon jumped in first.

“All I thought about was no one was jumping in,” Briandon told News 8. “Somebody has to do it, so I just jumped in.”

He and his sister ran into the water and fought the strong waves to try to swim to the struggling man, who was not wearing a life jacket.

“While we were swimming towards him, we were getting pushed away,” Biannca said. “We were swimming towards him; we just couldn’t get to him.”

Jason Evans, Dallas Fire-rescue spokesman, says they sent in teams to assist in the search last night before 9 p.m., but the search was called off shortly after that.


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