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Man drowns in James River near Belle Isle

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RICHMOND, Va. -- A Henrico man drowned in the James River near Belle Isle Saturday, according to Richmond Police.

The man was identified as 20-year-old Rudy Organiz-Aguilon, of North Laburnum Avenue.

"An officer on Belle Isle was alerted to a male needing assistance in the James River," a Richmond Police spokesperson said. "The Richmond Fire Department River Rescue team responded and located Organiz-Aguilon in the river, brought him to shore and attempted to resuscitate him."

He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said. Foul play was not suspected in his death.

The drowning happened at about 3:25 p.m. Saturday.

Matt Perry, owner of Riverside Outfitters, said it is always gut wrenching when someone loses their life while enjoying the river.  Perry is on the James almost daily during the summer, and said he sees swimmers of all abilities taking the power of the river for granted from time to time.

“It’s easy to think that you are going to be in control when the whitewater isn’t that big, but it doesn’t take that much volume and flow to basically put you at the river’s mercy," Perry said.  “In the summer, sometimes you get lulled into thinking its like being out in a swimming pool, but it’s not.  It’s a living, breathing system.”

Swimmers of all abilities should remember a basic technique to get to safety if they ever find themselves in a tough spot, according to Perry.

“Get on your back, feet up off the bottom, point them down stream as little shock absorbers, just float it out until you get to a calm section, and then swim actively behind a big rock or to an eddy," Perry said.

Witnesses can email news tips and photos here.

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