Vallejo man third to drown in Tahoe in four days

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A third person in less than a week drowned in Lake Tahoe after he grew tired from swimming to a tube after jumping off a rented ski boat.

Simi Tili, a 24-year-old man from Vallejo, reportedly drowned Saturday in 16 feet of water a quarter mile from the Ski Run Marina.

A South Lake Tahoe boat officer said Tili wasn't wearing a personal flotation device.

"He jumped in the water to ride the tube," Officer Ken Hunt said. "He had a hard time swimming and getting around."

Hunt, who drove Tili's girlfriend back to shore, said Tili became weak and asked his girlfriend to back up the boat to get him. By the time she got to Tili, the man couldn't hold onto anything, Hunt said.

The unidentified girlfriend dove into the water, but couldn't get the 230-pound Tili out of it, Hunt said. The woman then got back into the boat and radioed for help.

Tili was not retrieved until more than an hour after the call came to dispatch at 3:45 p.m.

Authorities from the South Lake Tahoe fire and police departments, El Dorado County Sheriff's Department, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District, U.S. Coast Guard and others aided in the search.

Two El Dorado County sheriff's divers and two helicopters were used to find Tili, who was wearing white basketball shorts. He was unresponsive when he was transported to the marina by a Placer County Sheriff's Department boat. A Calstar helicopter transported him to Barton Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead at 5:51 p.m.

Throngs of onlookers, marina workers and couples preparing to board the Tahoe Queen's evening cruise watched officials tend to Tili.

Tili is the third Tahoe drowning in less than a week. On Wednesday, nine people were on wind-swept water when their rented boat capsized. A couple from the Bay Area drowned. The nine were not wearing PFDs.


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