Teen Drowns After Diving Off Cliff

June 29, 2011 Updated Jun 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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June 29, 2011 Updated Jun 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM EDT


(Ripley, N.Y) Zachary Wadding, from North East Pennsylvania, died Tuesday night after diving into Lake Erie at Ripley Beach.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's say the 18-year old dove off a cliff into the lake around 7:45pm.

After entering the water, Zachary Wadding experienced difficulties and called for help.

Three friends, who were with Wadding, tried to help but had to struggle to escape the rough water themselves.

Officials estimate the waves in the area were close to four feet at the time of the drowning.

Currents and rough water conditions pushed the struggling teenager into a cove area, trapping him against rocky cliffs.

Unable to swim out of the cove, Zachary Wadding drowned.

Rescue crews from the Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team, working in boats, retrieved the young man's body - but did so at a risk.

Strong waves tossed rescue boats dangerously close to the cliffs at Ripley Beach.

No rescuers were reported injured in the recovery attempt.