SEATTLE - The search for a man last seen swimming on Lake Washington Monday has turned into a recovery mission.
Rescue crews with the Seattle Fire Department and Seattle Police Department were called to the lake near Seattle’s Briercrest neighborhood.
It's the third drowning on the lake in Seattle in 10 days.
Kristin Tinsley is the public information officer for the fire department. She said the man was on a boat with at least one other person when he decided to jump off for a swim Monday morning. First responders were called after 11:30 when the man did not come back up.
Tinsley said rescue teams were told the man was a really good swimmer. However, officials said no matter the skill level, people should always wear a life jacket while swimming in open water.
“Tragedy can strike when you least expect it. Lots of us have fun on the lake, but there are those times where we need to make sure water safety is a consideration as well,” said Tinsley.
Tinsley said first responders weren’t given a clear description of where the man was last seen. She explained the lack of details makes the search much more difficult. The fire department has tips on how to pinpoint the last seen location, including throwing an anchor from a boat.
“Dropping a buoy or a life jacket in the water where the person went under. That way we can see how far the water is drifting and what the current looks like. Another option is placing a pin from your cellphone. So, dropping a pin and letting responders know that location,” said Tinsley. “We don’t want you to leave the scene. We want you to stay in your boat, stay at the location so it will give us a better last seen pint for the patient. So, do the best you can to describe the area you are in.”
Neighbors also pitched in to help the search.
“Just looking for anything floating in the water. Want to be able to lend a hand. The more eyes on the water, the better,” said Mike Romanovitch, who lives on Lake Washington.
The beautiful summer weather continues drawing people out to the waters. While first responders said they understand people are having fun, they are reminding people to consider just how cold the water is. The cool water temperature could impact swimming skills for even the strongest of swimmers.
“Take water safety seriously, make sure you’re taking those steps when you’re out on the water and watch out for those around you,” said Tinsley.
The Seattle Police Department will be the agency providing updated information on recovery efforts.