Update: Man's body identified, death investigated as accident (with video)

Tri-City HeraldApril 16, 2014 

— Bureau of Reclamation workers discovered a Whitstran man dead at an irrigation canal power station just west of Benton City on Wednesday morning.

Alvaro Lopez-Ivarra, 31, was found out of the water on a conveyor belt that holds debris filtered from the Chandler Canal before the water is returned to the Yakima River, according to the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

It appears Lopez-Ivarra's death was accidental and alcohol may have been involved, Lt. Chuck Jones said. Investigators are still working to determine how Lopez-Ivarra fell in the canal near Old Inland Empire Highway and Pleasant Drive.

"We absolutely have no reason to believe a crime was involved," Jones said.

Lopez-Ivarra walked off from a house near the canal Tuesday, officials said. Friends were out looking for Lopez-Ivarra Wednesday when his body was found. Officials estimated his body had been in the water between eight and 12 hours.

"He was at a house just west of here yesterday afternoon and just walked off," said Sgt. Bob Brockman of the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office could finalize their investigation as soon as Thursday, Jones said. Toxicology tests will be done and detectives will determine if an autopsy is necessary.

There are no plans to drain the canal, which starts in Prosser and is a main supplier of water for the Kennewick Irrigation District.

The power station is just west of Benton City off Old Inland Empire highway and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation.

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