AUSTIN (KXAN) — Recovery efforts are underway for a swimmer that went under water and did not resurface in Lady Bird Lake on Saturday.
“We received 911 reports of a missing swimmer that was potentially paddleboarding with a friend,” said Captain Christa Stedman with Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS).
Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted at 5:25 p.m. Saturday it and multiple other agencies, including STAR Flight, were responding to a report of a person who had gone under and failed to resurface.
About 30 minutes later, ATCEMS tweeted rescue efforts were transitioning to recovery efforts after extensive search by air, boat and swimmers utilizing the aqua-eye in the area for the missing swimmer.
While all the details have not been released, ATCEMS said water safety is always important.
“Anytime you get on the water, there is an inherent danger, there is an inherent risk,” said Stedman.
Lady Bird Lake is a popular place for canoes, kayaks and paddleboarders, and sometimes people can be seen standing and swimming in shallow areas, even though you aren’t allowed to swim in the lake.
“If you are hanging out on a sand bar, and you are not a swimmer, you make sure your chest is above water, because you never know what that next step is going to bring,” said Stedman. “If you are going to be out on the water travel with at least one person, if not multiple. That is the safest.”
While it is unknown if alcohol was involved in this case, Lady Bird Lake is a popular place for people to have a drink on the water.
“The more intoxicated you are, the less ability your body has to do anything you expect of it,” said Stedman. “You are not going to be swimming as well. You may not be able to paddleboard as well. You may not know your surroundings as well.”
Knowing where you are at all times is also important. ATCEMS said it uses an app that can help identify a location for first responders, even if the caller can’t identify where they are. It is called What3Words. By using three words, it pinpoints where you are in a 10-foot by 10-foot box.