Parks Bureau Deputy Rescues Three in Pyramid Lake Boating Accident

March 30, 2014, at Pyramid Lake, the observant actions of a Parks Bureau Marine Patrol Deputy potentially saved the lives of a five year old child, his father and another adult. The deputy was patrolling Pyramid Lake when he saw three people on a kayak in the main channel struggling to navigate in 25-30 MPH wind gusts. He headed his boat in their direction and noticed that there were two adults and one small child (five-year old male) on the kayak. One of the adults was wearing a life jacket and the other was not. The small child appeared to be wearing life jacket that was too large for him as only the top of his head was visible.

When the deputy was 25-30 yards away, the kayak flipped over ejecting all of the passengers into the 50 degree water. The high wind gusts immediately blew the kayak away and the boaters began to panic. The child's upper body slipped out of his life jacket and was only connected at his waist causing his head to slip under the water. The deputy saw the child flailing his arms splashing the surface of the water in an attempt to keep his head above water. The adult male that was not wearing a vest made attempts to help the child but that only made the situation worse. The adult male that was wearing the vest was floating and was being pushed away from the other two by the high gusts.

The deputy drove his patrol boat alongside the child and the adult without the life jacket and safely pulled them into his boat. He then drove to the second adult and pulled him into the boat. The child, who was shivering uncontrollably and lips were turning blue was treated for hypothermia. The kayak was recovered and they were all transported to the Pyramid Sheriff's Dock where the deputies continued to treat the child for hypothermia.

The deputies found that the kayak was only designed to hold two passengers and the life jacket that the child was wearing was "Adult" size.

Jairo Valdes-Velazquez (adult not wearing a life jacket and father of the child on the kayak) was issued a citation for not having enough life jackets on board and for his son not having a properly fitting life jacket. He was subsequently released on his own recognizance.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Parks Bureau is dedicated to providing a safe and drug free environment at all Los Angeles County Parks.

Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake

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