California teenager dies after swimming in Madera County lake

A California teenager was found dead after swimming in a lake while hiking earlier this month, authorities said.

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday that he had received a call around 8 p.m. local time (11 p.m. ET) on August 10, indicating that the 19-year-old had disappeared from his hike near Thousand Islands Lake.

The teenager had been hiking with a large group, including his father, before going for a swim alone on one of the islands in the lake around noon that day, the sheriff’s office said. He was last seen ashore from afar by his party, he added.

The group that reported him missing later called back to say they had located the 19-year-old and needed immediate medical assistance.

“Due to the emergency nature of the incident, a request has been made to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services for a military helicopter to respond,” the sheriff’s office said. Naval Air Station Lemoore accepted the assignment and went to the scene, he said.

When the helicopter arrived, however, responders learned that the young man had died.

NAS Lemoore flew the victim and his father to Fresno Yosemite International Airport, where they were met by Fresno Airport Police and Sheriff’s Office personnel, authorities said.

“On behalf of the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, I extend our sincere condolences to the young man’s family and friends during this tragic time,” Sheriff Tyson Pogue said in a statement. “Incidents like this are truly heartbreaking, and some of the toughest calls we make as first responders.”

The sheriff’s office has urged those who engage in outdoor recreational activities to exercise caution when swimming in the highland alpine lakes.

“Our high country alpine lakes are still extremely cold even though the valley floor is experiencing 100 degree days,” he said. “At Thousand Island Lake, nighttime lows are in the low 40s at night, and the lake itself is fed by the glaciers of Mount Ritter and Mount Banner, whose peaks are at -/+ 12,000 feet in elevation. . months, the water is extremely cold.”