2 canoers drown in Donner Lake; men likely weren’t wearing life jackets | SierraSun.com

2 canoers drown in Donner Lake; men likely weren’t wearing life jackets

Donner Lake is located a few miles northwest of Lake Tahoe, in Truckee.
Kevin MacMillan / Sierra Sun |

4 p.m. SUNDAY UPDATE: Rescue crews on Sunday recovered the body of the second victim in Friday’s canoe incident on Donner Lake, officials said.

The body of Lucas Johnson, 34, from the Auburn, Calif., area, was found in roughly 60 feet of water in Donner Lake near where the canoe capsized Friday afternoon, in the northeast corner of the lake, according to a Sunday afternoon statement from the Truckee Police Department.

The body of Joshua Patterson, 33, of Cool, Calif., was located during a helicopter search Saturday at about 10 a.m. in roughly 15 feet of water in the same area.

“It is believed that neither victim was wearing a personal flotation device,” according to TPD.

TPD Capt. Rob Leftwich said the department’s “deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Lucas and Joshua.”

“We would like to remind everyone how important personal flotation devices are,” Leftwich said in a statement. “These situations are always extremely tragic and we can only hope we can prevent similar incidents in the future.”

Aside from TPD, the Nevada, Placer, and Yuba county sheriff’s offices, Truckee Fire Protection District, and California Highway Patrol assisted in the search for both bodies after the canoe Patterson and Johnson were aboard capsized at about 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Below is the original story string:


9 a.m. SUNDAY UPDATE: Dive teams returned to Donner Lake Sunday morning to continue to search for the second missing canoer, according to the Truckee Police Department.

The search continued Saturday “even with difficult weather conditions including heavy winds and cloud cover,” officials said, before it was called at about 5:30 p.m.

“While ambient temperatures were relatively warm, the wind chill drove outside temperatures down making search conditions difficult,” according to TPD. “Placer County and Nevada County Sheriff’s boat teams worked search grids throughout the area the canoer (was) last seen attempting to locate the remaining person.”

The name of the person located Saturday has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

Below is the original story string:


11 a.m. SATURDAY UPDATE: Earlier Saturday morning, with assistance of the California Highway Patrol Air Operations, one of the missing canoers was located in roughly 15 feet of water near where the canoe capsized, according to the Truckee Police Department.

Nevada County Sheriff’s Office will be handling the notification of the next of kin, officials said. Placer County Sheriff’s Chaplains are assisting the family and friends.

The search continues for the second missing man. The original story is below:


TRUCKEE, Calif. — Emergency crews were out searching Saturday for two men feared dead after their canoe reportedly capsized on Donner Lake late Friday afternoon.

According to a statement from the Truckee Police Department, the call came in at about 4:45 p.m. Friday, and TPD and Truckee Fire Protection District immediately launched a rescue effort including boats, divers and a helicopter to search the area.

“The victims, two males in their 30s, were visiting the Truckee area and staying along Donner Lake at a cabin,” according to TPD. “Truckee Police is in contact with family and friends of the victims and are keeping them updated.”

The area is the northeast corner of the lake, which officials said is very challenging due to the depth, cold water conditions and underwater terrain. Various equipment is available including divers, under water cameras, and sonar.  

Due to high winds and dangerous water conditions, the search was suspended at dark Friday, officials said, and it picked up Saturday morning.

California Highway Patrol Air Operations, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Placer County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and the Truckee Fire Dive Team are assisting.

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