The body of a young man has been recovered after a rescue at Longview Lake.
The Missouri Highway Patrol identified him as 18-year-old Tim J. Nolen. Friends knew him as T.J. and he just celebrated his 18th birthday last week.
His mother said he was a senior at Ruskin High School and a strong swimmer. He and several other friends decided to swim across a cove, but ran into trouble.
His girlfriend, Audra Callen, broke down in tears.
"I found out he was dead and I just hit the floor," she said. "He just loved other people. He was so funny. And he always had this light around him. As soon as he walked into the room, he'd make people laugh."
"It's just devastating. It's devastation to our families," family friend Christina Brewer said.
Friends said he was funny and loved mechanics.
Jackson County sheriff's deputies, highway patrol troopers and members of the Kansas City Fire Department were on scene at Shelter 13. They were called there about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Deputy Chief Norman Larkey confirmed that their search resulted in the recovery of the young man's body. He was pronounced dead shortly before 4 p.m.
Nolen's mother said he and three other teenaged boys were at the lake for a family gathering. The boys tried to swim across a cove at the lake, and three apparently began to struggle.
One of the boys called for help when he saw the others in distress. Water rescue crews arrived within minutes and pulled two of the boys out of the water, but it took more than an hour to find Nolen.
His body was recovered in nearly 8 feet of water.
Larkey said the water where they were swimming was between four and seven-and-a-half feet deep, but the distance was a lot longer than most people would think and the swim involved muddy, dangerous waters.
"I mean, this looks like 250, 300 yards," he said. "It looks like a short distance, but it's very long once you start swimming it, if you're an inexperienced swimmer. Please use a life vest. They save lives. Know what you're doing before you get into it."
"It's easy to get turned around whenever the visibility in the lake, such as Longview or any other lake for that matter, has limited visibility," said Sgt. Collin Stosberg with the Missouri Highway Patrol. "When you're under water, you don't know whether you're going up or down, so it's easy to find yourself in a difficult situation. Even the strongest of swimmers can find themselves struggling, so those life jackets are there for a reason. Make sure you wear those and just make good choices, utilize good judgment.
"This is the worst part of what we have to do is recover these bodies and notify their family."
The boy who called 911 was treated at the lake. Two of the boys swallowed quite a bit of water and they were taken to area hospitals to be checked out.
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