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Father drowns in Marine Creek Lake as family watches

A father of three drowned Wednesday in Marine Creek Lake as his family and friends watched.

One of the man's neighbors, who was among several dozen people with the group, identified him as Martin Tavera. Neighbors said Tavera's 9-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son saw him go underwater. Tavera also has a 20-year-old son, neighbors said.

Witnesses said Tavera swam out to retrieve a small floating raft for his niece and daughter and began to struggle as the raft drifted farther and farther away.

Laura Plate of Fort Worth said she saw Tavera calling for help.

"He went down twice," Plate said. "The second time he asked for help, then went down again."

That's when four bystanders went in to try to rescue him, witnesses said.

"I swam in, because I knew if I didn't he would drown," said Wesley Shackelford of Fort Worth. "But nobody could really do anything."

Fort Worth rescue teams responded to a 911 call at about 7:30 p.m., said Lt. David Coble, a Fire Department spokesman. Divers recovered Tavera’'s body from the northeast Fort Worth lake at about 10 p.m.

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