Sparks teen rescued after jet ski crash at Boca Reservoir
Rescue personnel searched for a missing jet skier at Boca Reservoir late into the evening Friday, after friends reported him missing when darkness fell and he still had not returned to shore.
Sparks teen Nathan Trudeau was found unconscious and hypothermic, but alive, just off the shore near the north arm of Boca Campground by Truckee volunteer firefighter Kenny Osburn just before midnight. Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and Truckee Fire Protection District personnel searched for Trudeau for almost three hours before they found the jet ski he had been riding crashed on the rocks on the north end of the campground.
Trudeau, 18, of Sparks, Nev. was with a group of friends (all from Sparks) at Boca Reservoir July 7. According to NCSO Deputy Ron Smith, Trudeau’s friends had last seen him at approximately 5 p.m. when he rode off on a high performance jet ski by himself, heading north. He was inexperienced on a jet ski, friends reported, and had a brief lesson with the jet ski’s owner earlier that afternoon in one of Boca’s coves.
When his friends didn’t see him again or hear the jet ski, they left the boat ramp and began to drive around the reservoir, searching the shoreline. It started to get dark, and his friend’s called the NCSO from a pay phone at Hirshdale to report Trudeau missing. TFPD was requested for assistance and an Airboat.
Osburn, who lives in Glenshire, brought his personnel boat to Boca, and began searching along the shoreline for Trudeau with TFPD Lt. Craig Harvey and Smith. They went most of the way around the lake and TFPD’s Airboat one and rescue team arrived to assist in the search.
The search continued south, towards the dam, and spotted the jet ski, crashed on the rocks off the shore of Boca Campground. Trudeau’s gloves and goggles were found next to the jet ski, which was seriously damaged, and personnel began a ground search.
Osburn continued along the shore line, heading away from the jet ski, and with a spot light, sighted Trudeau’s body under a tree inland from the shoreline. When Trudeau became conscious as Osburn helped him to meet the rescue boat, he said he didn’t remember the jet ski at all, Smith said. He was suffering from hypothermic exposure as well as a skull fracture from the accident.
TFPD personnel transported Trudeau to Tahoe Forest Hospital, and he was later transferred to Washoe Medical Center due to his head injury.
Smith said they were unable to determine exactly how the crash occurred.
“Our big concern during the rescue was the water craft was a high performance vehicle,” Smith said. “We were told by the owner if the vehicle crashed in the water, it would sink.”
One of the fireman estimated that if the search had lasted two hours longer, they may not have found Trudeau alive, Smith said.
“Kenny [Osburn] really helped us out,” Smith said. “He used his own boat, his own gas. It was his initiative that found that boy. Basically, he saved this boy’s life.”
NCSO personnel found no indication that alcohol was involved in the accident.
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