Drowning victim identified

Merced County sheriff's deputies have identified a fisherman who drowned in the Delta-Mendota Canal as 48-year-old David Alan Lauderdale.

Family members say the victim was from Seaside.

Lauderdale's body was found in the canal near Creek Road in Los Banos, about 15 miles away from where he fell into the water. He'd been staying at a motel in Santa Nella when the accident happened, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.

The accident was reported around 11 p.m. Saturday near the Gravel Pit Bridge, south of Sullivan Road in the Gustine area.

Lauderdale fell into the canal after he dropped his fishing pole and tried to grab it.

Because of the swiftness of the water and steepness of the canal's slippery sides, Lauderdale was unable to escape.

-- Victor A. Patton