Mom falls from boat, drowns in Lake Tahoe; 6 kids, man rescued

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A woman drowned after falling off a boat carrying six children on Lake Tahoe and a man who jumped off the boat to try to rescue her had to be hospitalized for severe hypothermia, authorities said Saturday.

After the woman and the man went into the water, the boat with the children still aboard drifted into the middle of the lake, according to a statement from the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District.

The U.S. Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue (Marine 17) and TDFPD (Marine 24) all launched rescue operations.

The USCG said in a press release that SLTFR established primary connection with the reporting party aboard the disabled vessel and directed the coast guard and TDFPD to their possible location.

USCG hauled all six children aboard in the vicinity of Pope Beach on the South Shore and both boats started searching for the two individuals who went into the water.

USGC said once the initial search area was covered, they brought the six kids to SLTFR for medical attention and TDFPD expanded the search area. 

TDFPD heard a voice in the distance and discovered one person in a life jacket who had been in the water for about an hour and was hypothermic. Marine 24 brought the patient ashore for medical attention. He was listed Friday night in critical condition, officials said.

All three boats continued to search for another two hours and used mark-127 illumination flares to increase visibility. USGC located an unresponsive person in the water and started life saving efforts. The patient was transferred to EMS personnel at Camp Richardson.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of the individual,” said a social media post from the USGC. “Additionally, we would like to recognize all our government partners who assisted with the search efforts for this heartbreaking case.”

TDFPD Fire Marshal Eric Guevin told the Sacramento Bee that the woman was the mother of some of the children, part of a blended family, but authorities did not immediately know the relationships between the people involved and ages of the children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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