An ice skater drowned on Saturday after the ice on Tahoe’s Stampede Reservoir collapsed, sending a handful of skaters into the water. The person has yet to be identified.
On Saturday, February 5th, just after 2 pm., the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting several people had fallen through the ice on Stampede Reservoir. Eight people had been ice skating on the lake when the ice broke and six of the skaters went into the water. The remaining two began to assist in pulling the others out of the water.
The drowning victim, reported to have been the furthest away from the main party of skaters, went under the water and visual contact with this person was lost. They were able to report to emergency responders where the subject had last been seen in the water. Emergency responders made overflights of the lake attempting to locate the subject.
On Sunday, drowning victim was recovered from Stampede Reservoir by Washoe County Hasty Team and Placer County Dive Team members.
“We urge everyone to stay off the ice on area lakes. It is impossible to know the safety and stability of the ice, especially with the recent warmer temperatures,” Truckee Fire Protection District said on Facebook.
The tragic incident sent shockwaves through the Tahoe community, who had been enjoying a rare month of outdoor ice skating opportunities due to abnormally dry conditions during the month of December. A few lakes have been filled with skaters over recent weeks, including Stampede and Boca Reservoir.
“As I was airlifted from Stampede to Boca, where they staged our rescue I feared for those on Boca,” wrote Laura Kottlowski on the Truckee Tahoe Ice Skating Facebook page. “Please do not go out on the ice without knowledge of how to test the ice, a life preserver, ice picks, and a throw rope bag.”