MADERA COUNTY – The Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the drowning death of an 18-year-old man at Hensley Lake this morning.
Just after 10 a.m., 911 received what was described as a “frantic call” from a party at the Hidden View Campground, saying that a family member had gone into the water and not resurfaced.
The Hensley Lake Ranger responded to the scene, and sheriff’s duties were dispatched, along with the Search and Rescue Dive Team.
While rescuers were en route, family and others in the area desperately searched the water in an attempt to locate the young man.
Sgt. Larry Rich and Deputy Earl O’Neal were first on scene from the Sheriff’s Office, and Sgt. Rich immediately entered the water to join the search. The young man’s ability to swim was described by family members as “extremely limited.”
When the dive team entered the lake, Sgt. Mark Stritzel and Deputy Joshua Cushing quickly determined that the visibility under the water was zero.
Unable to search visually, the divers set up a grid pattern that allowed them to search by touch in a systematic fashion.
The victim was located within minutes of the start of the grid search, approximately 30 feet offshore in about 18 feet of water, according to Sheriff’s Commander Tyson Pogue.
Lifesaving efforts were immediately initiated by medical personnel, but after about 25 minutes of CPR, the young man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The name of the victim is being withheld pending confirmation of notification of next of kin by the Coroner’s Office.
According to the Cmdr. Pogue, the young man was from Lemoore, Calif., and was camping with family.