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Search for Girl at Reservoir Now Recovery Mission: SDFD

The recovery effort for a girl who fell overboard in San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside Saturday resumed Sunday morning, San Diego Fire-Rescue said. 

The search started around 6 p.m. Saturday when the 12-year-old girl was reported falling off a ski boat, San Diego Fire-Rescue Lt. Rich Stropky said.

Four adults and two children were onboard the board, San Diego police said. The 12-year-old girl, her parents and her younger sister were visiting from out of town. The couple operating the boat are local. 

The girl, who was wearing a life vest, was sitting near the bow of the boat when she fell, he said. As the boat was slowing down, the bow was bouncing and the girl fell off the front, SDPD said.  

The family was tubing so the boat was towing a float, SDPD added. 

The family jumped in the water to try and rescue her but were unable to find her. 

“This lake typically has cleaner waters, as far as visibility, than some of the other reservoirs, so we have that going for us,” Stropky said. “The depth drops off very quickly, and there is a lot of underwater debris.”

After two hours of searching, authorities suspended the search for the night as conditions were too dangerous for divers and rescuers to operate in.

“There is big, huge rocks that you can get snagged on and there is lots of trees and branches, and that makes this type of thing very dangerous,” he said.

Sunday morning, lifeguards sent divers back into the water. The divers went down about 120 feet, with a water temperature of 62 degrees and visibility of 25 feet. Divers can only stay down for a limited amount of time, SDFD said. 

ORCA Maritime gave SDFD a search area of 300 yards by 400 yards, and they are revising their data to try to narrow down the search area and identify a “hot spot.” 

Monica Munoz with San Diego Fire-Rescue said the recovery mission can be dangerous. “There are actually trees that are at the bottom,” she told NBC 7. “So that makes it a very treacherous condition to deal with.” SDFD estimates the reservoir’s depth to be about 130 feet.

The girl was on the boat with several other adults and the boat was not powered on when she fell. It, however, was moving with the wind and current, Stropky said.

At some point after she fell, her life vest came off. It was found and is now part of the investigation, he said.

SDFD lifeguards, City of SD Public Utilities Dept ranger divers and the Lakeside Fire Department are conducting the search.

“While we wish that it wasn’t under this circumstance that we’re putting this family back together, this is the way we’re going to do it, and these gentlemen are very driven to make that happen,” Munoz added.

The reservoir will be closed Sunday so search crews can work without competing with other boaters in the water.

Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
Source: NBC San Diego

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