A Mexican immigrant living in Muskogee drowned in the Illinois River while on a church outing Saturday afternoon, said Ed Fite of the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission.

The body of Cesar Rodriguez Ortiz, 28, was recovered 50 yards downstream at about 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Fite said.

Fite said the drowning occurred at the Illinois River Ranch in Adair County.

“A number of them were swimming and he attempted to cross the Illinois,” Fite said.

He said the Scenic Rivers Commission, Oklahoma Highway Lake Patrol and marshals with the Cherokee Nation searched for the body with sonar before giving up the search around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

The Lake Patrol was able to recover the body Sunday afternoon, Fite said.

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