Kenai man drowns in Johnson Lake

A man drowned in Johnson Lake on Sunday after his boat drifted away from him.

Nickolas Thornton, 24, of Kenai, was swimming near his paddleboat on the Kasilof-area lake Sunday around 12:54 p.m. when he took off his lifejacket but kept swimming, according to a dispatch from the Alaska State Troopers. The boat drifted away from him and his swimming partner, according to the dispatch.

Thornton’s swimming partner made it to the boat, and other people on shore called for help, said Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters in an email.

“Thornton was unable to swim to the boat or make it to shore,” the dispatch states.

A diving team from Central Emergency Services later recovered Thornton’s body from the lake. He was pronounced dead on scene, according to the dispatch. No foul play, drugs or alcohol are suspected. Thornton’s next-of-kin was on scene and notified, according to the dispatch.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at

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