RCMP divers recovered the body of a 28-year-old man Monday who drowned in Chocolate Lake in Halifax.

Lifeguards had already left for the day when the mishap occurred Sunday evening.

Bystanders tried to help, but it was already too late.

When the searched resumed Monday morning, the rescue effort had become a recovery mission.

The RCMP dive team was in the water just before 10 a.m. and Mohamad Ibrahim came by to watch.

He'd come to the lake for a swim Sunday night when a man and woman floated by on a large inflatable duck.

They exchanged a friendly-greeting, but moments later, he heard a woman screaming “Help, help, help!"

“I see a man, down up, down up,” said Ibrahim, who immigrated to Canada from Lebanon.

Ibrahim swam out to help, but the man was gone.

“Maybe he swim, maybe he not swim good,” said Ibrahim. “I don't know what happened."

Rick Rivers was sitting in the restaurant on Sunday evening and watched it all unfold.

“You could see everything and I saw that rubber ducky just take-off and I thought that was kind of strange,” he said.

After scouring an area of the lake for a little more than an hour, divers marked a spot and returned with the man's body.

Police are saying little about the victim.

“We can confirm he was a 28-year-old man that had currently been residing in Toronto,” said Halifax police spokeswoman Const. Carol McIsaac.

Chocolate Lake remained closed to boaters and swimmers Monday afternoon and evening.The city decided to keep the lake closed out of respect for the victim and for the lifeguards, one of whom was part of a crew that tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate a drowning man at Chocolate Lake a little less than three years ago. That incident occurred in an unsupervised area.

The city says no one has drowned at any of HRM's supervised beaches while a lifeguard has been on duty.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.