From Travis County Sheriff’s Office @ 3:37 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2021
At approximately 2:00 this afternoon, TCSO recovered the body of a swimmer who was reported missing August 28, 2021. The man was located using sonar, at a depth of 144 feet.
TCSO has executed recovery missions for a total of nine people, reported missing on Lake Travis this year. Seven of them have been recovered. Search efforts remain active for the other two. While the number of people who have gone missing in the lake is high this year, it’s not unprecedented. In 2011, eight decedents were recovered from the lake and in 2018, seven.
TCSO continues to search for a swimmer reported missing the evening of August 7, 2021. The missing man was reportedly last seen in an area between Starnes Island and North Shore. That area of the lake is over 120 feet deep. TCSO is also actively searching for the second of two men, reportedly last seen near Hurst Creek, August 28, 2021. The depth in that area is over 140 feet. Deputies are conducting shoreline, surface and aerial (drone) searches, and using various types of sonar in an attempt to locate them. TCSO has been assisted by other agencies including Texas Parks & Wildlife, Jonestown PD, Austin PD and Starflight in the search efforts.
Over the last ten years, a total of four people, reportedly last seen swimming in Lake Travis, are still missing. One in 2014, one in 2018 and two in 2021.
Without exception, missing persons recovered from Lake Travis by TCSO were not wearing a life jacket. TCSO implores patrons of Lake Travis to be safety conscious and wear life jackets when boating or getting into the water. It’s the one thing guaranteed to give swimmers a chance for rescue if there’s an emergency.
“We know the turmoil families experience when these tragic events happen, and we use every resource we have to find their loved ones and bring closure as quickly as possible.” -Sheriff Sally Hernandez
“Our Lake Patrol Deputies have been working tirelessly not only patrolling and serving the public on Lake Travis, but they’ve also been working extended, labor intensive hours trying to locate these missing swimmers. We ask boaters travelling through the search areas to please, slow down. We want to make sure our search teams are safe, and the lower wake makes sonar readings more accurate. Please wear your life jacket and remember that operating a boat while intoxicated is just as illegal as driving a car while intoxicated. Please don’t operate any watercraft while drinking alcohol.” -Craig Smith, Law Enforcement Major.
Circumstances Surrounding Body Recovered from Lake Travis
At 2:48 pm on August 8, 2021, Lake Patrol Deputies, along with several other agencies responded to an area of Lake Travis near Longhorn Landing. A 911 caller reported seeing a person struggling in the water, with another person trying to hold them above water.
Upon arrival, a woman was seen floating on the surface of the lake. She was recovered by Jonestown PD and CPR was immediately started. ATCEMS continued CPR once she was brought to a nearby boat ramp. Efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful and she was pronounced deceased.
As CPR was in progress on the woman, TCSO Deputies were advised that her husband, who was in the water with her, was unaccounted for. Lake Patrol, assisted by Jonestown PD searched for him using sonar, until nightfall. Starflight conducted aerial searches. Lake depth in that area is approximately 30-50 feet.
Lake Patrol Deputies located the body of a man, matching the husband’s description, in the search area August 9, 2021 and made the recovery. Autopsies were conducted, and cause and manner of death are pending final autopsy results.
Out of respect for the family involved, and because this is not a criminal incident, TCSO will not disclose the identities of the decedents via press release.
TCSO continues to search for a swimmer reported missing the evening of August 7, 2021. The missing man was reportedly last seen in an area between Starnes Island and North Shore. That area of the lake is over 120 feet deep. Deputies are conducting shoreline searches, surface searches and using various types of sonar in an attempt to locate him. They’ve been assisted by Jonestown PD and Texas Parks & Wildlife.
TCSO has recovered five bodies from Lake Travis this year. There is a common factor in all of the incidents; the decedents were not wearing a life jacket. TCSO implores patrons of Lake Travis to be safety conscious and wear life jackets when boating or getting into the water.