Third Whiskeytown drowning prompts warnings from park officials

Sep 8, 2015 8:36 PM by Charlene Cheng

Three water-related fatalities at Whiskeytown Lake this year, the latest happening over Labor Day weekend.

The victim has been identified as 58-year-old Patrick Brown of Weed.

Rangers were called to the Brandy Creek Marina late Saturday night, after Brown reportedly fell off the dock.

His body was recovered Sunday.

"Most years we don't have any fatalities. This has been particularly difficult to have a great summer like this with high visitation, and end up with three fatalities," Park Superintendent Jim Milestone said.

He added that alcohol appears to be a factor in two of the drownings, and that most accidents can be avoided by following the rules.

"If you look at the people that get injured or drown, most of them them violated those standard regulations, so that's really an attributing factors to their deaths and injuries," he said.

To prevent incidents like this from happening, the park has a comprehensive safety program that includes staffing lifeguards during the summer months, and offering visitors free life jackets to use.

"Our incidents of assisted drowning rescues has been cut in half as a result of our free life jacket program," Milestone said.

Brian Liesch, who works as a lifeguard, says flotation devices are extremely important.

He considers himself to be an experienced swimmer, but warns that lakes can be unpredictable.

"If I'm going out for a long swim, its nice to have a buoy or floatie, so if I come into trouble I can float and I can relax," Liesch said.

Lifeguard staffing will end this Sunday, making it even more important that swimmers use cautions.

"If you know your limits, you'll know not to go in the deep areas if you're not a confident swimmer. And swim with a buddy so you can always call for help," Liesch said.


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