Crime - Sacto 911

Man who fell into El Dorado water pipe found dead

The body of the man who on Monday fell into a channel used to transport raw water was recovered Tuesday morning, the El Dorado Irrigation District announced.

Tory Robert Mayes sneaked onto the EID facility and fell or jumped into an above-ground air vent in the pipe below Sly Park Dam, said Jesse Saich, irrigation district spokesman. The pipe carries water from Jenkinson Lake 1  1/2 miles to an EID treatment plant in Pollock Pines, where Mayes lived.

“It’s not a place where you want to be playing in,” Saich said. “It’s a facility that transports cold, raw water, not a place you would just want to dip into … I have no knowledge of his motivation as to why he would want to get into the pipe.”

Pipe flow was slowed and a conservation advisory was put in place as dive teams and first responders searched for Mayes. After several hours, they concluded water temperature and “circumstances surrounding the incident” had minimized his chances of survival, and transitioned from a rescue mission to a recovery mission.

Mayes’ Facebook profile identified him as a Hemet Senior High School alumnus and construction worker from Idyllwild, a small town nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains. He had previously “checked in” at Sly Park Dam on Oct. 25.

“This type of thing doesn’t happen up here,” Saich said. “That facility has been there since the 1950s, and nothing has ever happened like this before.”

It was not known whether alcohol or drugs had played a role in Mayes’ death. Regular water flow had resumed as of Tuesday morning, and water quality remained unaffected, Saich said.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel