Officials search Lahontan for two drowning victims
May 30, 2005
SILVER SPRINGS – After search-and-rescue crews spent Saturday evening and all of Sunday looking for the body of a University of Nevada, Reno student in Lake Lahontan, a second person may have drowned in the lake early Monday morning.
Lyon County Sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Page said people camped on the beach reported an unidentified man was spotted struggling in the lake at about 5:30 a.m. Monday.
“A person in the water was screaming for help. People – citizens – went out in a boat, and when they got there, he was under water,” Page said.
Page said that no one had reported a missing person at Lake Lahontan on Monday.
“We’ve been up and down the beach all day, and nobody’s reported anybody missing and has no idea who he is,” Page said.
The disappearances came during a period that State Parks officials estimate brought as many as 15,000 people to the popular recreational area 40 miles east of Carson City.
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Divers continued to look for both the unidentified man and 21-year-old Tim Easley of Virginia City until shortly after 5 p.m. Monday.
According to police reports from Easley’s friends, the UNR student was on a boat with seven other friends when he asked the driver to stop at about 5 p.m. Saturday so he could swim.
Easley reportedly was yelling and swimming in the lake, and then his voice became silent.
Page said the two reported drownings happened on the northeast side of Lake Lahontan near Silver Springs, but in different areas. Easley disappeared directly across from Beach 6. In Monday morning’s reported drowning, the unidentified man was spotted about 400 yards off Beach 7.
Fire Chief Mike Parrish said divers were originally paged at about 7:50 a.m. Monday on a call that a second drowning was reported.
He said search conditions have been difficult with the combination of 50-degree water, strong winds and murky visibility.
“It’s pretty rough waters out there,” Parrish said. “That makes it very difficult. You can’t see at all, and you pretty much have to go by feel if you want to find anything.”
Page said Easley’s friends told police they had been drinking alcohol Saturday. Page wants to remind people of the dangers of swimming while intoxicated.
“If you’ve been drinking, stay out of the water,” Page said. “Stay in your boat, stay in your car, stay on the beach. If you go play in the water, wear a life vest.”
n Associated Press contributed to this story.