Two men caught by surprise Wednesday when sudden high winds knocked them into the chilly waters of Pyramid Lake in northern Los Angeles County. They treaded water without life jackets for 90 minutes in chilly waters as they clung to their small boat caught against the dam spillway, as they feared for their lives until discovered by County Parks sheriff’s deputies.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Parks Bureau deputies had received a call at 5:00 p.m. from the Assistant Manager at the Pyramid Lake Concessionaire. She explained her concerns to the deputies that two men in a 10-foot “Pond Prowler” boat had not returned and were still on the lake. The sudden winds by this time had suddenly risen to 65-70 miles an hour with five foot swells on the lake.
The deputies launched two LASD rescue boats and began to search for the men and their vessel in the dark.
A helicopter was requested to help in the search but due to the hazards of the 90 mph winds at flying altitude, it was not safe for them to assist in the search.
The deputies soon found the men located on the spillway near the dam and saw waves crashing on them near a 200 foot drop.
The deputies could not reach them by boat due to the safety cable and buoys in the water that prevent large vessels from getting too close to the dam. The deputies later learned that the men’s light boat had been pushed and blown uncontrollably into this area and capsized. The men then clung on hoping for help to come. By now it was dark and they feared they would tire out before they were found.
The boat deputies gave instructions to the two men over a public address system while other deputies made their way near the men on foot.
The men had been caught in an area where they could not see any place would they could escape the water on their own. Deputies kept providing instructions and showed the men where to paddle to with their overturned boat, and guided them to a safe exit from the water onto dry land.
The men made it to land and were met by deputies.
A 60-year old man and and his 29-year old son, both residents of Agoura Hills, were treated for mild hypothermia at the scene by Los Angeles County Fire Department Paramedics.
The 60-year old gentleman, a former opera singer from the Ukraine was so appreciative of the efforts made to rescue him and his son, that he sang “God Bless America” to all of the rescue personnel (photo).
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Parks Bureau, is committed to providing a safe and drug free environment at all Los Angeles County Parks.
God Bless America_______Paul Schrader