By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
Khai Pu, 29, of Kansas City, KS
MIAMI COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -
Friends of a missing swimmer at Hillsdale Lake said they're baffled at his death.
After a search that lasted a full 24 hours, dive teams at Hillsdale Lake in Miami County discovered a body Friday evening. The body is believed to be that of Khai Pu, 29, of Kansas City, KS. He disappeared off the southwest portion of the lake at the state park's main beach area at the lake about 6 p.m. Thursday.
The discovery brings a small amount of closure to the man's congregation, which was gathered to pay their respects. The group had been watching as search crews scoured the waters of Hillsdale Lake, expecting the worst but praying for the best.
After several hours of standing vigil, the Pu's congregation got the news they were dreading.
"It's sad because in church we are one big family and family sticks together. When someone dies or someone leaves it's like a piece of that family is missing," said Suan Sonna.
Sonna attends the same Kansas City Baptist church as Pu. He said Pu was a great swimmer and no one has any idea what went wrong.
"It makes us realize life is very delicate, very fragile. It makes us think about the type of people we are being to others," he said.
The discovery of the body comes after authorities from multiple agencies spent hours employing scanning sonar and dive teams to search the main swim beach inside the state park where he was last seen. Authorities searched until 2 a.m. Friday before stopping and resuming at daybreak. They were prepared to keep searching the rest of the weekend when they found the body.
Miami County sheriff's deputies spoke with Pu's friends, trying to figure out what went wrong. Now they're hoping the tragedy serves as a warning to other swimmers this summer.
"Everyone needs to be tremendously cautions near the water. It's good fun, an excellent time, but it just takes one small mishap and even the best swimmers succumb by drowning," said Miami County Sheriff Wayne Minckley.
Sonna said Pu had just moved to Kansas City from Asia and doesn't have any family in town.
He said the church family will now organize a funeral to lay him to rest.
Hillsdale Lake is located west of Paola and Spring Hill, KS.
The sheriff said there is no indication of foul play, but they will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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