Clinging to Life, Missing Boater Rescued from Shore of Eagle Lake


On 5/28/24 at about 2000 hours, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a call in regards to a missing boater at Eagle Lake.

The reporting party informed our Dispatch Center that his friend, an elderly man (75 YOA), had left the Merrill Campground in a 15’ aluminum boat. The boater was headed for the Eagle Lake Marina and was to meet his friend there to load the boat on a trailer. The boater never arrived at the Marina.

Deputies immediately responded and began searching the area, both on land and water. Patrol boats were deployed as well as ground units. The search for the missing boater continued into the night to no avail.

On 5/29/24 at daybreak, a request was made to the California Highway Patrol for a helicopter to fly the area in attempt to locate the missing boater. Boating and ground deputies were also re-deployed along with the Lassen County Search and Rescue Team.

California Highway Patrol helicopter H16 located the boat near Pelican Point, which is approximately 6 miles north of Merrill Campground via water. The boat was located on shore, unoccupied. H16 was able to direct our patrol boat to the area. Ground units responded as well.
Deputies discovered the boat had been tied up, with the engine stowed in the “up” position. Deputies and Search and Rescue members immediately began a search of the area for the missing boater. Shoe prints were discovered and followed for a short distance before they were lost in the rocky terrain. Motorcycles, Quads, and a side by side were deployed to cover as much ground as possible in attempts to locate the missing boater.

At approximately 1215 hours, Deputies were searching the shoreline and working back in a southern direction. Deputies located the missing boater, who was lying on his back in the water, clinging to life. The boaters head was on shore and was covered in water up to his ears, with only his face protruding from the water. The rest of the man’s body was under water.

Deputies removed the man from the water and began life saving efforts.A SEMSA Air Ambulance was requested to respond to the scene. The man was incoherent and could not speak. Deputies provided first aid were able to stabilize him until the Air Ambulance landed. The man was transported to an out of area hospital via helicopter in critical condition.

The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the California Highway Patrol, The Lassen County Search and Rescue Team, and SEMSA for their assistance with this incident.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to this gentleman and his family. We wish you a full and speedy recovery.

Information submitted by: Captain Mike Carney, Lassen County Sheriff’s Office