Missing swimmers recovered on Lake Travis

Staff Reports 

A total of 10 swimmers have been reported missing on Lake Travis this year including one on Monday, September 6.

Travis County Sheriff’s Office is actively searching for a woman reported missing September 6 near Hurst Creek, the same area of Lake Travis where the two swimmers were recovered over Labor Day weekend.

At approximately 6 p.m. on August 28, Travis County Sheriff’s Office began a recovery mission for the two male swimmers reported missing in Lake Travis, near Hurst Creek. 

According to witnesses, a family from Houston rented a boat for a day of fun on Lake Travis. A family member began to struggle in the water and a second family member attempted to rescue him. Both men went under and never resurfaced.

TCSO searched for the missing men, conducting shoreline, surface and aerial (drone) searches, and using various types of sonar. The first man was located via sonar and recovered Friday, September 3 from a depth of 130 feet. The second man was located via sonar and recovered Sunday, September 5 from a depth of 148 feet.

Autopsies have been conducted on both men and final results are pending. Out of respect for the family involved, and because this is not a criminal incident, TCSO will not disclose the identities of the two men.

Additionally, TCSO continues to search for a swimmer reported missing a month earlier on the evening of August 7. 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 has executed recovery missions for a total of 10 people, reported missing on Lake Travis this year. Eight of them have been recovered. Search efforts remain active for the other two. 

“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,” said Sheriff Sally Hernandez.

While the number of people who have gone missing in the lake is high this year, it’s not unprecedented. In 2011, eight bodies were recovered from the lake and in 2018, seven.

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 the two this year.

“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,” said Craig Smith, law enforcement major. “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.”

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.

“Please wear your life jacket and remember that operating a boat while intoxicated is just as illegal as driving a car while intoxicated,’’ Smith said. “Please don’t operate any watercraft while drinking alcohol.”