Central Pierce Fire and Rescue and a Pierce County dive team were called to Lake Spanaway on Sunday to search for a man who disappeared after falling off an inner tube.
As of Monday morning, divers had not yet recovered the victim.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said the 55-year-old man was on an inner tube with two other people and they were being pulled by a boat. Somehow they fell off. The man was wearing a life vest but slipped out of it and disappeared under the water.
It obviously didn't fit correctly and it slipped over his head, said Sgt. Paul Schneider with the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.
The two other people were not hurt.
Tina Jackson, who watched the recovery efforts from a beach at Spanaway Park, spoke with one of the two survivors.
All she was saying was, 'I tried to save him, I tried to save him. I couldn't reach him,' Jackson said. She was crying and she said, 'I lost a very close friend.'
The dive team arrived quickly and was using specialized equipment in their search as they combed a location about 100 feet from shore. The water is about 11 feet deep where the man drowned.