Another senseless tragedy related to water occurred Wednesday, Aug. 22, at 1 p.m. when two brothers and two of their friends were launching a boat from the Lemon Hill ramp at the west end of Lake Kaweah. While one of the brothers went to park the truck, for an unknown reason, Ivan Dillard, 50, of Cutler, entered the water.
When his brother returned to the boat, he saw Dillard in the water and struggling. He immediately entered the water but began struggling himself. The two other men with the Dillards couldn’t swim either, according to a statement issued by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
The brother managed to get the victim out of the water and immediately began CPR. Fire and ambulance crews soon arrived on the scene and took over efforts to revive the victim.
Dillard was transported by ambulance to Kaweah Delta Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The Tulare County Coroner’s office was scheduled to conduct the autopsy Thursday, Aug. 23, to determine the cause of death. Results were not made immediately public but all indications suggest the cause was “freshwater drowning.”
Life jackets and the law
This is the second drowning at Lake Kaweah this year. Lake Kaweah has a free life-jacket loaner program.
Under California law, every child under 13 years of age on a moving boat or personal watercraft of any length must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
For boats (including canoes and kayaks) or personal watercraft less than 16 feet in length:
Everyone on board and anyone being towed behind a vessel must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. There must be a Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board (if stored, these life jackets must be readily available all passengers must be shown the location of life jackets and other safety equipment).
For boats 16 feet or longer:
The same requirements as above — a life jacket available for all — and one throwable flotation device per vessel such as a ring, cushion, or buoy.
Heather Lake drowning victim identified
On Thursday, Aug. 9, a 23-year-old Santa Ana man drowned in Heather Lake after day-hiking to the high-country lake from the trailhead at Wolverton in Sequoia National Park (www.kaweahcommonwealth.com/news/man-drowns-heather-lake). Earlier this week, the victim was identified by the Tulare County Coroner’s office as Jose Carrillo.
The cause of death was determined to be freshwater drowning.
This is the third death due to drowning in Sequoia National Park this year. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Three Rivers.