Tahoe boat goes to Butte County | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe boat goes to Butte County

With the regulatory change banning two-stroke engines on Lake Tahoe, the U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit had a problem: what to do with the two-stroke powered boat known as the “Lake Ranger.” The cost of converting the boat to a four-stroke was impractical. For a time, it sat on its trailer, until Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Bill Johnson had an idea to find a new home for the venerable vessel. In fairly short order, another lake in California was found that needed just this type of boat. Today, sporting new markings the boat is based at Lake Oroville, with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office. The 30-foot Wellcraft, with its twin motors, has turned out to be ideal for the specific conditions of Lake Oroville, officicals say. Butte County Sheriff’s Deputies George Mahon and Richard Chandler, use the boat regularly in their routine patrols for water enforcement and boating safety efforts on Lake Oroville’s popular and often busy waters. Deputies Mahon and Chandler have nearly 25 years of combined experience with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, and have been operating a boat program at Lake Oroville for many years. In addition to its use in enforcement and safety, the former Forest Service boat provides service for rescue work and the sheriff’s dive team members as well.

Lake Tahoe tuber sustains ‘serious’ injuries from boat propellers; transported to Reno for medical treatment

A 22-year-old female sustained injuries in Lake Tahoe when her legs were caught in a boat's twin propellers on Sunday, July 24, according to an El Dorado County Sheriff's Office release. The boat was pulling the woman in a tube, and upon attempting to climb back into the boat, her legs became caught in the propellers. "The information about the location was conflicting and significantly delayed first responders," according to the news release. "After about 40 minutes, deputies arrived and jumped into the water to free the tuber from the propellers. The victim was unconscious." South Lake Tahoe Police transported the woman to a waiting Medivac, which flew her to a hospital in Reno, Nevada. Her condition was reported as "serious." El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Boating Safety Unit is currently investigation the accident. No updates on the condition of the woman have been provided. CASINO ASSAULT A security officer at Harrah's Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino in Stateline was struck on the head with what he believes was a glass bottle by an "extremely intoxicated" female outside of the casino on July 24, according to a Douglas County Sheriff's Office report. The security officer was escorting the female and her male companion out of Harrah's after they had been asked to leave the California Bar. While the security officer was speaking with the man, the woman hit him on the left side of his forehead, causing him to bleed, according to the arresting officer. Broken glass was reportedly seen on the ground afterward. Another customer from Harrah's later came forward to report that the same female had "grabbed her by her hair and began punching her in the face," Douglas County Sheriff's Office reported. The alleged assailant was arrested for two counts of battery and obstructing an officer. She was transported to Douglas County Jail in Stateline for booking. SEARCH AND RESCUE A number of search-and-rescue missions for hikers were initiated this past week, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office reported. On July 24, a 75-year-old female hiker was attended to for an "illness" on the Rubicon Trail in D.L. Bliss State Park. That same day, a search-and-rescue team was sent out to find a stranded hiker on the Mount Tallac trail. A 62-year-old climber sustained injuries to his legs after a fall at the popular climbing destination Lover's Leap in Twin Bridges, on Saturday, July 23. He was transported to a hospital by first responders. Another search-and-rescue mission was initiated that day for an injured hiker on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Sheriff’s deputy drowns in Zephyr Cove harbor

A Douglas County sheriff’s deputy drowned Sunday in Lake Tahoe when a dinghy he was riding in capsized in Zephyr Cove harbor. Officer Ed Callahan, a retired customs agent and a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Boat Patrol deputy, was pronounced dead at Barton Memorial Hospital shortly before 6 p.m. Callahan, 54, was beginning his third summer as a Douglas County boat patrolman. At approximately 5 p.m. the patrol boat was secured to a buoy and the Zephyr Cove dock master came out to pick up officers Callahan and Wes Rice, a reserve deputy sheriff. As the two of them stepped onto the dinghy, a large wave hit, causing the boat to turn over, witnesses reported. All three were thrown into the water. The dock master was able to climb onto the boat, and then helped Rice out of the water. Callahan, however, was not seen. “They boarded a dinghy that transports personnel to and from the main boat and the dock. The dinghy then capsized,” said Sgt. Larry Paul shortly after the accident. “Two sheriff’s officers went into the water. One managed to swim back to the boat and stay above water, the other was not.” Members of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Boat Patrol, the Department of Wildlife, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene. A complete search grid of the water was quickly initiated. Approximately 15 minutes later, members of the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department located Callahan and pulled him up. “We responded when we heard Marine Seven had capsized,” said Capt. Richard Nalder of the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department. “One officer who went into the water wasn’t able to grab a life jacket and went down. We went in, hooked him and managed to pull him out.” According to Nalder, Callahan was found on the lake bottom, approximately 10 feet beneath the surface. When they brought him to the pier, he was unconscious with no pulse. Medical aid and CPR were quickly administered, but on-scene crews, and later doctors at Barton Memorial, were unable to revive him. Callahan was reportedly submerged for 15 minutes before he was located and brought to the surface, said Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini, in a press conference held later in the evening. He added that because of Sunday’s high winds and the timing of the wave that hit their dinghy, the officers were caught without life jackets. “We have all the proper equipment on board. Officers take the life jackets off and leave them on the main boat, then board the dinghy, where there are other life jackets to put on for the ride to the pier,” he said. “In fact, there were four life jackets on the dinghy. It just happened so fast.” With water so cold, Pierini added, it doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in. “When water gets that cold, it completely slows down the whole body. It was just so very unfortunate,” he said. “I don’t remember anything like this ever happening at Lake Tahoe. We’ve lost a lot of civilians before. I think six years ago we lost a whole family. Lake Tahoe takes a lot of lives over the years. This is just very traumatic.” Rice, who was also taken to Barton Memorial in South Lake Tahoe, was treated and released for hypothermia. Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com Visitors Guide | News | Diversions | Marketplace | Weather | Community Copyright, tahoe.com. Materials contained within this site may not be used without permission. About tahoe.com…

Marine officers report mellow Fourth of July

Lake Tahoe's waters rippled with thousands of boat wakes throughout the week, but officers in patrol vessels said few incidents were reported. "There was certainly a whole lot of boat activity," said Les Lovell, a marine officer with El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. "But I will say, compared to year's past, [Fourth of July] night was really mild. Folks were really cooperative. We didn't have one reported boat accident." The weeks surrounding Fourth of July are typically the busiest time for boaters on the lake. Law enforcement and Coast Guard officials patrol the waters to ensure that the public remains safe on the water. Lovell estimated more than 1,000 boats gathered for the annual Fourth of July fireworks. After the show is over, the menagerie of watercraft head in all directions. The scene is always chaotic and can be dangerous, said South Shore Coast Guard Auxillary member Victor Beelik. "That is always a crazy situation," Beelik said. "Amazingly enough very few accidents happened. Mostly what we have are people running out of gas or unable to get their engine started." El Dorado County Sheriff's marine officers had a busier afternoon dealing with drunk beachgoers at Ski Beach, just west of Pope Beach, than they did after dark on July 4, Lovell said. Still, though there were a few arrests for drunken and disorderly conduct, there were no major incidents. "Obviously, there's a lot of boats on the water and people up here, but we haven't had any major things happen," said Lt. Pete Van Arnum of the El Dorado County Sheriffs Office. Dangerous situations can arise quickly though, Lovell said. With a lot of inexperienced boaters on the water and lower water levels than normal, there have been a few accidents and boaters should always be aware, he added. "We're seeing a lot of boats into the rocks, especially in Emerald Bay," he said. "Fortunately, we've only had a couple of significant rescues this year." One of those was the rescue of nine individuals from a capsized vessel near Dollar Point in late May, he said. In addition to the sheriffs and Coast Guard, other agencies are tackling problems on the water. South Lake Tahoe Police Department marine officers participated in Operation Dry Water, an annual nationwide effort to curb boating under the influence, June 28-30. The officers inspected 25 vessels over the weekend. There were no arrests and only a single citation issued for lack of a personal flotation device, said city spokeswoman Tracy Franklin. Marine officers from El Dorado County Sheriffs Office, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxilliary will continue to patrol Lake Tahoe throughout the summer. Safety is their No. 1 concern, Van Arnum said. "They're just out there trying to keep everybody safe, slowing them down, making sure they have the right safety equipment and that they're not intoxicated," he said.

Husband, wife killed in Tahoe boat crash (updated w/ photos)

A husband and wife were killed in a boating accident on Lake Tahoe early Sunday morning after crashing into a dock piling near Meeks Bay, authorities said. Responding units from North Tahoe Fire and the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office found San Ramon, Calif., residents Vadim Raizanov, 45, and Tatiana Nikolskaya, 44, dead at the scene. According to the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office, an initial investigation indicates the two had been driving a 19-foot-long 1997 Glastron boat at a high rate of speed when the crash occurred. The force of the impact, which was enough to awaken a group of people sleeping on the dock at the time, split the boat's hull in half, authorities said. The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office received a report of the incident at 1:40 a.m. The dock is located on the 7000 block of Emerald Bay Road. Authorities said they are investigating the possibility that alcohol may have been a factor. Autopsies are scheduled for early this week.

Unsafe child seats crushed

MINDEN – There were only 30 child seats in need of crushing on Monday at the Douglas County Transfer Station. But, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mike Biaggini thinks that’s a good sign. “Maybe we’re starting to get all the unsafe seats off the road,” he said. “The program is working.” The crushed seats were exchanged for new seats during the course of the year because they were damaged, too old or had been recalled. Sheriff’s deputies drove the county’s M113A armored personnel carrier, affectionately known as the tank, over the car seats to make sure they never injure a child. State law mandates that children be in safety seats through age 6 or until they weigh 60 pounds. The program is financed through a Nevada Office of Traffic Safety grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Biaggini buys $8,000 worth of car seats each year which are stored by Dick Hanson of Gardnerville. The Kiwanis Club of Carson Valley also assists with the inspections. Participants can expect to spend about 30 minutes for the process, depending on the number of technicians available. Subway Sandwiches provides food for the checkpoints. Deputies will be checking seats 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mothers Of Preschoolers Child Seat Safety Day. The mothers are starting their event at 9 a.m. at Carson Valley Christian Center. Anyone who cannot come out for today’s child seat check is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office at 782-9905 for an appointment. Seat checks are conducted Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Biaggini said deputies will inspect or install seats.

Teen reportedly drowns at Emerald Bay Saturday

A 17-year-old boy's body was recovered in 72 feet of water in Emerald Bay Saturday morning after he reportedly drowned Friday. At 3:12 p.m. Friday, El Dorado County Sheriff's office received a report of a possible drowning. When it arrived at the area about 3:15 p.m., it contacted a rental boat on the south side of the bay. The family aboard the boat reported that their 17-year-old son, later identified by his family as Javon Lamar Green, was swimming toward Fannette Island from the boat when he went under water and they hadn't seen him since, according to a press release from the sheriff's office. The family, who was vacationing in the area, reportedly said the island was about 25 yards away from the boat at the time. Sheriff's office dive team members and a California Highway Patrol helicopter searched for the boy, but were unable to locate him. At 9:07 a.m. Saturday, the team located the boy in about 72 feet of water. His body was recovered about 9:35 a.m. The cause of death is still under investigation.

El Dorado Sheriff’s Department gears up for summer

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department spent last weekend gearing up for the boating season. The department’s marine officers underwent a three-day training course on boat handling and water rescue techniques conducted by the National Marine Safety Center. The session included classroom discussions but emphasized hands-on training in Lake Tahoe, said Sgt. Warren Smith. The training program also allowed the sheriff’s department to break out its new, roughly $90,000 patrol boat. The California Department of Boating and Waterways paid about $55,000 toward the cost of the 27-foot, deep V-hulled cruiser. “It seems to be an incredibly well-handling boat,” Smith said. The sheriff’s department patrols Lake Tahoe along roughly 22 miles between Tahoma and Camp Richardson. The marine officers’ caseload includes enforcing speed laws, assisting boaters, resolving mechanical problems, responding to medical aid calls on vessels and responding to capsized boats and boating accidents. “We handle everything from routine enforcement of speed laws at Emerald Bay to life-and-death emergencies,” Smith added. This year, the sheriff’s department plans to initiate marine patrol on Lake Tahoe on May 10. The department has four employees – including two law enforcement retirees – assigned to patrol the lake. Another roughly half dozen employees are trained in boat handling and water rescue for additional staffing during emergencies. The department is one of six jurisdictions – including the U.S. Coast Guard – that patrols Lake Tahoe. The sheriff’s department also patrols Fallen Leaf Lake.

Nevada County Sheriff’s boat collides with craft on Boca Reservoir

During a windy Memorial Day weekend at Boca Reservoir a Nevada County Sheriffs Office boat collided with another craft just after stopping the boater for improper tags. The collision marks the second police boat collision in the Truckee area in the last 11 years. “The police boat came on at a 90 degree angle with the boat,” said Marty Pearson, owner of the 21-foot Westcraft damaged in the collision. “He came from the windward side rather than the leeward. He cut the power too early, and when he saw that he wasn’t close enough he gunned it, and hit the boat, and then he hit it again.” According to NCSO Lt. Dave Baxley, one of the officers on board the 20-foot police boat may have been a boat officer in training. Although Baxley is unclear as to which officer was driving the boat at the time of the collision, he said he is certain that the NCSO will rectify the damages as soon as the claim is approved by Nevada County’s Risk Manager. Pearson filed a claim against the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office following the incident, and expects the damages, estimated at $725, to be repaired soon. “The issue isn’t the damages to the boat,” said Pearson. “The officers need training. If they hit somebody in a smaller boat, in a canoe or a raft, they could kill somebody.” Baxley said that the state doesn’t require training for boat officers, but the certified Cal-Boating course is something they like officers to do. In addition, the police boats are equipped with bumpers, cushions that can be hoisted over the bow to prevent boats from bumping when they approach one another. Retired NCSO officer and town council member Bob Drake said that the 20-foot long police boats are jet boats, and that they maneuver differently than propeller boats. “When it’s windy [driving the boats] is pretty tough,” he said. In 10 years as a boat officer in Truckee, Drake had only one incident where he actually collided with another boater. They were both on jet skis, and the damages were minimal. “I can empathize with the guy,” said Drake. Retired from boat duty this year, Drake didn’t receive boat training until his second summer as boat officer. The classes he took were mostly background information, and didn’t offer any hands-on training. “It was the learning that went on between the classes, listening to the guys that had experience, that was most valuable,” he said. Drake added that most of his hands-on learning occurred when he rode along with a boat officer that had experience. Baxley explained that the NCSO in Truckee is understaffed, and unless he pulls a patroller off the streets, he will have to use boat officers from Nevada City. “It was really windy that weekend. There were whitecaps on the water,” he explained, “and that’s why it’s called an accident.”

Back in the water

This Memorial Day weekend Lake Tahoe’s waters are sure to be rippling with boat wakes and the happy cries of those sailing along with the vessels. But with so many boaters out, safety is always a high priority. “Boating during Memorial Day weekend means being a more responsible boat operator,” California Department of Boating and Waterways acting director Lucia Becerra said in statement. “Operators may have people on board their vessels who do not normally boat. Familiarizing passengers with the location of safety equipment and how to be safe aboard will decrease the likelihood of being involved in a boating accident.” Memorial Day weekend is typically Lake Tahoe’s first busy weekend of the boating season. With the increase in water-borne traffic, law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard are urging boaters to be safe. “We always see a pretty good bump for Memorial Day,” said Pete Brumis, spokesman for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. Though a chance of snow and temperatures below 50 degrees are forecasted for Friday and Saturday, the rest of the weekend is expected to be warm and sunny, according to weather reports. Agencies including El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxillary will have boats on the water this weekend to watch out for everything from boaters without lifejackets to drunk boat operators. “As we do every year, we want to start off by educating people about the hazards of Lake Tahoe,” said Les Lovell, a marine officer for El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. The cold water this time of year is one of the biggest dangers to boaters, said Mort Meiers, public education officer for the Coast Guard Auxillary in South Lake Tahoe. “There’s been some really sad situations,” Meiers said. “The coldness of the water can be really tragic.” It’s imperative that children always wear life jackets and that adults riding in boats always have them handy, Meiers said. Another danger is the shifting conditions on Lake Tahoe. “As the day goes on, the wind can come up and very dangerous conditions can develop,” Meiers said. To help boaters understand the dangers and be prepared, the Coast Guard Auxillary will offer boating safety classes once per month, June through August. Reducing backups at boat inspections The Tahoe Resource Conservation District is expecting a holiday weekend rush to the boat inspections, Brumis said. But after such a warm spring, many locals and Tahoe regulars have already gotten their boats in the water, which should help lessen the wait, he added. Boaters who are coming to the lake and want to avoid backups at the inspection stations can check out tahoeboatinspections.com or follow @tahoeboating on Twitter for updates on where the shortest lines will be. “We’re trying to be really proactive about it and get these people these messages as they’re on their way up,” Brumis said. TRCD is encouraging those with non-motorized boats to clean, drain and dry their equipment before launching in Lake Tahoe.