No luck in search for missing person at North Pond
Update: After working through the night to locate a missing person in North Pond in Silverthorne, rescue crews continued throughout the morning and afternoon to comb the water. Divers are currently taking turns to move search efforts forward. Though search dogs pinpointed a location of the pond, no body has been recovered. Keep checking back for more updates.
A row of lights from numerous law enforcement vehicles lined State Highway 9 just south of Silverthorne Elementary School early Sunday evening, as Summit County Search & Rescue combed the water at North Pond Park for a possible drowning victim.
A call arrived to 911 Dispatch just before 5 p.m. after a resident of The Ponds at Blue River development spotted from his deck a girl, reportedly without a paddle and rowing on her stomach, fall off her paddleboard and into the water. According to a witness, when the resident did not see her resurface, he told his daughter to call 911 and then raced down and dove into the pond to attempt to save the individual. He then screamed and waved to others on the pond with paddleboards and kayaks to come help.
“We came over and he said, ‘She’s been down at least 2 minutes,’” said Wildernest resident Leanne Shaw. “‘If you can swim, just stay with me here and we’ll start dropping down with our feet to see if we can feel her.’
“There must have been 12 of us just sinking down trying to see,” she continued, “but you can’t see anything. I had my eyes open underwater, you can’t see. And the problem is you’re like 5 feet deep, and then all of sudden, even with a paddle between your feet, you can’t feel the bottom anymore.”
The south end of the pond, where the girl was last seen, was approximated at about 10 feet by emergency responders. The pond measures at between an estimated 25-to-35-feet deep at its center. Shaw, who had only just arrived to the pond with her husband Rich to paddleboard moments before the incident, said police arrived within minutes and everyone hurriedly worked together.
“After like 25, 30 minutes,” she said, “the cops were like, ‘Just to get out of the water, we’ve got to clear the lake.’ They had three guys in suits, but I don’t think they were divers because they didn’t have masks or tanks. They brought in [avalache] probes and even they couldn’t feel the bottom.”
Emergency staff soon cordoned off portions of the main access point of the entrance into The Ponds and Angler Mountain Ranch developments at the corner of Bald Eagle Road and Highway 9. By then, onlookers began to gather at sections of the edges of the pond to watch emergency operations, and responders moved to close off the parking lot into the park next to the elementary school.
“We’ve had multiple personnel walking throughout the edge, the shoreline of the pond itself,” said Sgt. Misty Higby of the Silverthorne Police Department, “unfortunately to no avail at this point in time.”
By around 5:40 p.m., Search & Rescue was employing the assistance of dog units to sweep that area of the pond, but by about 6:20 p.m. pulled the team and a large group of responders — Search & Recue, Sheriff’s Office patrollers, Silverthorne PD, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue and Colorado State Patrol — all huddled near two fire trucks to come up with next steps.
Just after 6:30 p.m., only a lone kayaker was out on the water to move a neon yellow marker closer to where the reported incident occurred. By 8:15 p.m., Silverthorne Police said a rescue team was back on the water to again attempt to locate the body. With the use of lighting on the lake from fire trucks, dusk’s arrival was not a concern and emergency crews planned to stay into the night until the individual was retrieved from the water.
This story is developing as a Summit Daily reporter interviews witnesses on the scene and public safety officials.
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