A Northern California sheriff’s deputy died Thursday while saving a friend in Lake Tahoe who had jumped into the water to save a friend, authorities said.
Deputy Sheriff Carlos Francies, 30, of Sacramento died Thursday after he jumped into deep lake water about 3 p.m. on a day with strong gusty winds. He was not wearing a life jacket, South Lake Tahoe police said. And a high wind warning for Lake Tahoe had been issued, with forecasts of winds gusting to 40mph.
The friend he went to help survived.
The agency is “devastated by the death,” Contra Costa County Sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said at a Friday news conference. He added that the department sends its “deepest condolences” to Francies’ friends, family and colleagues. “We’ve lost one of our family members.”
As South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Brian Williams explained it, Francies was visiting South Lake Tahoe with family and friends, spending the afternoon on El Dorado Beach near the intersection of US Highway 50 and Lakeview Avenue.
Francies and his girlfriend, his sister and another male friend had rented paddles and kayaks near the beach. Francies and his girlfriend were on the paddle boards, while his sister and the other man were on kayaks, Williams said.
All four were in the lake, more than a hundred yards off shore, in water that was about 15 feet deep. Francies’ sister was the only one of the four who had donned a life jacket, Williams said.
Francies saw his sister fall off of her kayak. His friend jumped off his own kayak to help her.
While doing so, the deputy’s own kayak drifted off, Williams said. And he tried to retrieve it by swimming while clutching a paddle.
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