Man drowns in aqueduct while trying to rescue his dog

A man who tried to rescue his dog after it fell into the California Aqueduct in Hesperia drowned Tuesday after he too fell into the canal, authorities say.

The tragedy occurred around noon as Lucas Hermenegildo, 58, of Victorville, was on a Valentine’s Day stroll with his wife and three dogs, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. 

As the group walked along the aqueduct, one of the dogs fell into the canal somewhere between Yucca Terrace Drive and Amargosa Road. 

Hermenegildo approached the water in order to grab the dog but lost his balance and fell into the water.

Emergency personnel pulled the victim out of the water and performed CPR. He was pronounced dead at a hospital, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. 

The dog was able to get out of the aqueduct unharmed, authorities said.

After an investigation, the Sheriff’s Department determined that Hermenegildo had been in the water for  10 to 15 minutes before emergency personnel were able to pull him onto dry ground. 

“The Hesperia Sheriff’s Station wants to remind citizens that even though the water on the surface of the aqueduct appears calm and slow moving, there is an undertow that is very fast moving and can pull a person under,” a department statement said. 

The San Bernardino County Fire Department and Hesperia school police also responded to the incident. 

melissa.etehad@latimes.com 

Follow me on Twitter @melissaetehad

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