California teenager drowns in Lake Tahoe

Miranda Jacobson

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A 17-year-old California resident drowned in Lake Tahoe Monday afternoon, according to authorities.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office identified the teen as Kyle Kawashima, of Greenbrae, who was out boating with his friends when he was attempting to switch from one seat to another and went over the side of the boat.

The boat was being used by a group of 17 and 18 years old on Monday afternoon when the distress call came in. (Provided by © 2021 Mike Hazlip)

A distress call was sent to Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 6:20 pm after Kawashima fell from the boat near Secret Cove while it was moving and began to struggle after his friends were unable to reach him to help. WCSO assisted at Sand Harbor State Park once the boat reached shore.

“They [DCSO] were able to get them ashore and began life saving measures,” said Medical Examiner Operations Manager Justin Norton. “But unfortunately were unsuccessful and he died in route to the local hospital in Incline Village.”

According to the medical examiner the cause of death was accidental drowning, and the incident is being investigated by the Nevada Department of Wildlife with assistance from the WCSO.

The DCSO brought the boat to Sand Harbor, where they were assisted by the WCSO. (Provided by © 2021 Mike Hazlip)

It is unknown if the occupants of the boat were intoxicated or consuming alcohol. Toxicology reports will confirm in the coming weeks, officials said.

Boating Education Coordinator Aaron Meyer said that while these accidents can happen, they are able to be avoided through wearing a life jacket when riding on boats.

“When you’re on the water,” Meyer said, “the law says that anyone over 12 doesn’t require it. They just have to have the jackets on the boat. But if this accident shows us anything, it shows us the jacket on the boat doesn’t do anybody any good if they get ejected.”

Meyer also suggests taking boating education classes any time before operating a boat in order to promote safety both on an off the water.

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