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Weekend drowning victim identified

The identity of the man who drowned at Lake Hanna early Sunday morning has been released.

According to James Coplin, the St. Francois County coroner, the man was 40-year-old Anton Simmons of Barnhart.

On Sunday about 3:15 a.m. the Doe Run Fire Department responded to a call of a possible drowning victim in the Lake Hanna development. The incident happened on Beaver Lake in the development located between Doe Run and Pilot Knob.

Fire Chief Bobby Johnson said Simmons and his two friends were on the lake when the canoe they were traveling in flipped over dumping the passengers into the water. Simmons was unable to swim and attempts to save him were not successful.

“The victim’s two friends said they were unable to save the man because he was drowning them when they tried to save him,” Johnson said. “They watched him go under one more time and then couldn’t find him.”

According to St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock, the Jefferson County Water Rescue team was called to assist in the search for the body.

Bullock added that the recovery of the body was hampered due to heavy fog, but resumed around sunrise when the fog lifted. 

According to Coplin, Simmons’ body was found in approximately eight feet of murky water. He had not been wearing a life preserver at the time of the accident.

The coroner pronounced Simmons dead at approximately 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, a short time after the body was pulled from the water.

Assisting Doe Run firefighters on the call were fire department personnel from Pilot Knob, Leadwood and Farmington.

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