Late Night Swim Ends in Tragedy in Dale

It was a quiet morning at Dale, Indiana’s Yellow Banks Recreation Center Lake. It’s a place where campers normally go to fish and swim, but early Sunday morning; Indiana conservation officers paid a visit for a far more sobering reason: finding the body of Jeremy Bunker.

"Mr. Bunker and his wife had been swimming,” said Conservation Officer Matt Clark. “They got disoriented, and then they were trying to swim along, I guess they ran into some aquatic vegetation."

41-year-old Jeremy Bunker from Evansville and his wife Vanessa had visited the campsite three times already this summer. An owner said he was a kindhearted family man.

"I would try to abide by any posted signs or regulations on a specific body of water,” Clark said.

The signs were there. Multiple signs, in fact, are posted all along the lake’s beach area, parameters for when and where you can swim. Tragically for the bunkers, “swim at your own risk” became reality.

"He went underwater, and she began yelling for help and was struggling to stay afloat. Some bystanders saw her that were walking around the edge of the lake, and they jumped in and saved her,” Clark said.

It was around 10:30 at night when Vanessa Bunker was saved, and it wasn't for another two hours till her husband Jeremy was found, but it was too late.

"I was kind of devastated to hear about that, because that was kind of, it was kind of crazy that it happened around a place like this,” Tristan Taylor said. Taylor had been fishing on the lake hours before the Bunkers were swimming. “Yeah, knowing that somebody drowned over there. It's just kind of, scares me a little bit."

Swimming past the boundaries and late at night were perhaps not the only factors in Bunker's death.

"We do have reason to believe that alcohol could be a contributing factor in this situation, yes,” Clark said.

Regardless of how it happened, it's a sad day at a happy place, and a lesson for future campers.

"Don’t drink before you go swimming, and don't go swimming at night, when there's no light or nothing, no one around,” Taylor said.

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