Third Drowning in Week at Illinois River

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A Tahlequah, Okla., man drowned in the Illinois River this afternoon, and officials say alcohol was likely a factor.

Leslie “Rocky” Angel, 54, had accompanied a friend to the river to go swimming at the City of Tahlequah-Riverside Park located just east of Tahlequah, according to the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission.

The friend said the Angel dropped him off at the south end of the park and then drove back up the park about 200 yards to park his car. From there, Angel told his friend he was going to swim back downstream to meet him. The friend said he waited about 20 minutes, then walked to where the Angel had parked. When he got to the edge of the river, Angel was being pulled from the river.

According to a news release from the commission, the drowning happened about 3 p.m. immediately downstream of the US62/SH51 Hwy Bridge crossing of the Illinois River in Cherokee, County.

It is the third drowning in less than a week, the release states.

Life jackets were not in use, and alcohol was likely a contributing factor, according to the commission.