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Family of Lake Pleasant drowning victim wants change after streak of deaths

After four drownings in a month at the lake, one family says something needs to be done.

PEORIA, Ariz. — Lake Pleasant has been anything but pleasant in recent weeks.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office reported another drowning over the weekend.

This is the fourth drowning in four weeks, and now authorities are highlighting safety measures all lake goers need to take - especially ahead of Memorial Day Weekend.

One of those victims' families doesn't want anyone in that water. That message comes after 20-year-old Neria Aranbayev drowned during a trip with friends in April. It was his first trip to the Valley.

"One of a kind, very pure soul," his mom Svetlana said of Neria. "Would help anyone, even if they didn't ask for it, he helped everyone. My son was a very good swimmer, athletic, muscular. He finished military high school. He would never do something stupid. But this lake, I believe, they're negligent."

Local authorities held a press conference Tuesday and warned people about the dangers the lake can pose. The best way to prepare yourself and stay safe goes back to basics.

"The ABCs of water safety. Adult supervision, barriers - which apply more to backyard pools - and a Coast Guard-approved life jacket and swimming classes," Det. Rob Marske explained.

MCSO says the lake and Salt River are staffed seven days a week as they try to prevent similar tragedies.

"There have already been more drowning calls this early in the season, we have not even hit memorial day and we're already at four drownings and two more fatalities here," Marske added.

RELATED: VERIFY: No, you don't have to wait 30 minutes after eating before swimming


  • Coast Guard approved life-jacket
  • Know your location on the lake
  • Don't use drugs or alcohol
  • Ask for a boat inspection
  • Take a swim class
  • Drink plenty of water

Those deaths are devastating for families like Neria's. His sisters Irina Sulay and Cristina Aran were angry over the local authority's response to the recent drownings.

"What do we actually know about why this is happening? What do we know about how this is happening," Sulay wondered.

"It's not what people should be doing. It's what authorities and people in that lake, who work there, should be doing to better supervise what's going on in the lake," Aran added.

In Neria's case, he was in the water with two friends, went under and never resurfaced. Now his family fears it will happen to someone else.

"Nobody does anything about this lake. In three weeks already, three more people died. I don't understand how," Svetlana said.

Investigators ruled out foul play in his drowning. But in order for Neria's family to gain closure, they're hoping for the lake's closure and nothing less.

RELATED: Unless more people apply to be lifeguards, many Phoenix pools may be closed

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