Local News


Deaths continue at Lake Mead National Recreation Area despite efforts

Posted at 5:57 PM, Sep 04, 2017

Lake Mead was a popular spot over the Labor Day Weekend. As many as 150,000 people visited the national park.

The weekend was marred by a tragedy, however.

On Saturday, a man was dragged under a houseboat as he tried to keep it from drifting away during a thunderstorm.

Authorities said his death shared a common factor with all of the other drownings at the park so far in 2017.

“There’s been 11 fatalities related to drowning, and each of those situations none of the victims were wearing a lifejacket,” said Christie Vanover, spokesperson for Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Vanover said each death within the park is carefully reviewed.

There have been 21 deaths within the park this year. 11 people have drowned, 2 people were killed in a motorcycle crash, one murder victim was located, and the other deaths were attributed to suicide or natural causes.

More than 270 people have died in the past 10 years, which ranks Lake Mead as the deadliest national park in the United States.

RELATED: Lake Mead nameddeadliestpark in America

Vanover said steps have been implemented to prevent future deaths. The National Parks Service established loaner lifejacket stations, which allows guest to borrow the devices for safety.

"We want the kids to feel safe, when you're in the water, our two little girls this is their first time in open water," said Darin Weidauer, a father of 4 from Las Vegas.

Weidauer said the lifejackets are a must for his two girls who are not solid swimmers just yet.

"They swim in the pool, and they feel pretty comfortable, as long as they're touching. But this is the first time on the lake and we wanted to offer the best to them to make them feel safe and secure," added Weidauer.

Park officials said they have also partnered with the National Weather Service and added weather stations in the park so authorities can get real time weather reports.

The park has stepped up traffic enforcement with a renewed focus on safety, The park has flashing speed limit signs to remind drivers to slow down, especially in the tight, curvy roads around the lake’s perimeter.

Vanover said summer might be coming to a close, but the visitor season is year round.

The park will soon welcome hikers, bikers, campers and other visitors who will take advantage of the cooler weather.