Body of drowned Canadian recovered Sunday

OROVILLE – The body of a missing Canadian man, believed drowned in Osoyoos Lake near Veranda Beach, Friday was located by divers Sunday evening.

The Okanogan County Sheriff’s office received a report on at 1:40 p.m. of a possible drowning last Friday, Aug. 1.

“The Sheriff’s Office boat and deputies arrived at the lake to learn that John M. Mele, 43, of Surrey BC had been on a boat just off shore when he did a back flip into the water. Mele began to surface and then went back under the water and disappeared,” said Sheriff Frank Rogers.

The sheriff said that rescue divers located the body of Mele with the help of approximately 10 divers from Canada, some civilian and others with a response team using sophisticated sonar equipment.

“They were able to locate the body of Mele last (Sunday) night and then direct divers to his location. Mele’s family has been on scene since the accident and were there last night when he was located.

According to the sheriff this is the fourth drowning in Okanogan County this year.

Another body was recovered last Friday evening from the Okanogan River in Okanogan. It was identified as Malcolm C. Tervo, 64, who had been missing since November 2013.

The search for Darrel L. Williams, 57, a retired U.S. Border Patrol agent, believed drowned in Palmer Lake on July 11, continues, said Rogers. Williams was fishing with a friend when he stood up in the back of the boat and fell overboard. When he surfaced his partner asked him if he was all right and threw him a life jacket, Williams told him he was all right but then began to struggle and went under the water and never resurfaced, according Sheriff Rogers. Williams’ partner immediately dove in and tried to locate him but was unable to find him. Divers have searched the lake several times but have had no success.

In addition, the body of Kenneth J. Leslie, 46, of Sedro Woolley, Wash., who drowned in the Columbia River on July 4, has not been found.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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