Drowning Victim Found At Lake Kaweah

3/2/2008 TULARE COUNTY The drowning is the first of the year in the Valley and it comes very early in the boating season.

The victim and two other people fell into Lake Kaweah in Tulare County at about 4:00pm Sunday afternoon.

The Tulare County Sheriff's Department had identified the victim as 46-year-old William Silva of Visalia. Calls for help started pouring into the sheriff's office around 4:15pm.

Family members of the victim stood by as Tulare County divers combed Lake Kaweah's waters looking for their loved one. Emergency crews were waiting on shore as these divers made passes back and forth for nearly 4 hours.

Earlier in the day a small aluminum fishing boat capsized with three men on board. Two men in their 20's managed to swim to land but the third, a man in his 40's, didn't make it. "Whenever you go into the water with clothing such as a sweatshirt and the heavy articles they had on it almost becomes an anchoring effect and drags you down the weight of the clothing," said Darrel Yandell of the Tulare County Sheriff's Office.

One person in the area attempted to go into the water to save the man who was drowning. Darrel Yandell warns the water was 55 degrees and just too cold, "It's all snow melt water coming down. It may look cold and inviting once it's at your ankles but you get out there any deeper and it can immediately affect your body."

Both the victim and the two other passengers a nephew and friend were not wearing life vests. Yandell says the vests were found floating in the water. "The life vest probably would have saved him but again the water being as cold as it is the shock hits you almost immediately," said Yandell.

During the dive teams 8th pass the body was found 30 feet from shore.

Deputies will continue to interview witnesses to determine how the boat flipped. Yandell is not certain if alcohol was a factor in this accident, that part is still under investigation.

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