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Body recovered from lake

Susan Wood
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / A California State Parks Ranger Patrol boat monitors the area Monday where a man died, apparently after swinging from a rope tied to the tree in the foreground.
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DL BLISS STATE PARK – The body of a Stateline man was spotted and recovered Monday about 118 feet below the surface of Lake Tahoe by search-and- rescue crews who combed a shoreline area off the Rubicon Trail.

State park authorities said Earl Douglas Queen, 39, had swung from a rope tied to a tree on a steep ledge at 3:15 p.m. Sunday when he fell 50 feet into the lake just below the Lighthouse Trail. A sign posted at its trailhead states “no diving.” Ropes are routinely taken down, Parks Superintendent Hayden Sohm said.

Parks personnel said the victim’s friends had asked where some rope swings could be located and were told that practice is discouraged. But Queen was not with them at the time.



Sohm reported the victim had not hit a rock, but did fall off shore on his side.

“It was not a clean entry,” Sohm said, noting possibly internal injuries.



A diving team had found Queen’s body in the morning at a yellow marker planted in a deep area marked by dark blue water. Marine units with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, California State Parks and the U.S. Coast Guard worked the case. An officer at the latter agency said eyewitnesses had taken the authorities to the spot.

Queen’s body was pulled from the lake at 3:52 p.m. The scene had drawn curious hikers looking over the ledge roped off by chains where boulders tower overhead.

“I definitely would go see the rope swing,” hiker Eric McMaster said, while standing near the spot on the trail. He wore swim shorts and his female companion was dressed in a bikini. McMaster admitted to having little fear over the incident.

“I would just use my best judgment,” he said.

This is the second fatal reported at the lake by the state Parks Department Sierra District this summer. The first involved a Bay Area man who plunged off Eagle Falls earlier in the season.

The death is also the seventh for Lake Tahoe this year, more than three times the average of two fatalities each year.

An autopsy will be performed on Queen, but Sohm didn’t know when. Results have not been released on the Eagle Falls victim yet.


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