Monday, 04 December 2023

REGIONAL: Fourth drowning of year reported at Lake Mendocino

LAKE MENDOCINO – Mendocino County officials are reporting Lake Mendocino's fourth drowning this year.

A 20-year-old Ukiah man drowned Tuesday evening, the most recent in a string of summertime drownings that have occurred in that body of water, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

“This is the most out there that I can remember for a long time,” Smallcomb told Lake County News on Wednesday.

Smallcomb said that Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies, Redwood Valley/Calpella Fire personnel, US Army Corp of Engineers personnel and California Highway Patrol were dispatched to Lake Mendocino at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on the report of a possible drowning.

Officers arrived at Lake Mendocino Pomo B Swimming area and learned that the victim – a 20-year-old Ukiah man – had been swimming in the area, just past the ropes when he went under the water, Smallcomb said.

The man's friends attempted to retrieve him from the water without success before they telephoned 911 and requested assistance, according to Smallcomb.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Dive Team was summoned to the location and began efforts to locate and retrieve the victim, who Smallcomb said they found at 9:40 p.m.

Smallcomb said the victim's name is being withheld until proper notification is made to the next of kin, who are believed to be living in Mexico.

According to the witnesses and friends of the victim alcohol did not play a part in the victim's death, Smallcomb said. He said toxicology tests on the victim are pending.

A Cloverdale man drowned in July, weeks after the death of a young Redwood Valley man. Smallcomb didn't have information on the third drowning previous to this latest incident.

Smallcomb said alcohol appeared to have been involved in the previous drownings.

He's unable to explain the increase in drownings this year over last, when he recalled having two such deaths.

Smallcomb said the sheriff's office's calls for service to Lake Mendocino are less this year, and the lake also doesn't appear to be as busy as far as boat traffic.

“I have no explanation for that,” Smallcomb said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at .

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