For the past four months KXAN has been examining the number of deaths on Lake Travis, Central Texas’ most popular lake. While Lady Bird Lake has been in the spotlight recently after several bodies were found in the water, Travis County has seen more than three times that number of deaths — 61 — since 2010, when the Sheriff’s office began keeping official records. The worst year was 2021, when 10 people died. Every other year saw at least one person die. At least 10 bodies have never been recovered. We discovered the lake’s design, a lack of public awareness and bad decision-making are all contributing to people dying at a startling rate.

Chapter 1: Ruins Beneath the Lake

When Lake Travis was built in the 1930’s, orchards and factories were left behind. Now, an ongoing drought brings these hazards to the surface.

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Chapter 2: Treasures in the Dark

A professional diver has made a career of recovering lost items dropped in the lake, but watches and phones aren’t the only thing he uncovers.

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Chapter 3: Wardens on the Water

Texas Game Wardens patrol Lake Travis, looking to keep people safe. We ride along to see how they do it.

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Chapter 4: The Party Boats

Thousands visit Lake Travis every year to drink and unwind, but how do the people who manage these visitors protect them while keeping the party raging?

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Chapter 5: Warning Signs

The organization that manages Lake Travis is trying to warn boaters of potential dangers, but is their message being heard?

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Chapter 6: Searching in Shadow

The Travis County Dive team is called out when a person goes missing, but how do they find someone nearly 100ft deep in total darkness

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Chapter 7: Solutions

A new program could mean faster EMS response times on Lake Austin, but could it be used on Lake Travis?

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Chapter 8: Still Missing

After five years of searching, a man still remains missing in the lake and he’s not the only one.

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Produced & Directed by:

  • Tom Miller
  • Eric Henrikson

Associate Producers:

  • Katie Bosnjak
  • Madison Nosek

Additional Photography:

  • Richie Bowes
  • Tim Holcomb
  • Bob Osborn
  • Frank Martinez
  • Todd Bynum
  • Christian Marcelli

Digital Team:

  • Kate Winkle
  • Andrew Schnitker
  • Jaclyn Ramkissoon
  • Robert Sims


  • Joany D’Agostino
  • James Lanning
  • Wendy Gonzalez

News Director:

  • Haley Cihock

General Manager:

  • Eric Lassberg

Special Thanks:

  • Alise Miller
  • Steven Henrikson
  • David Yeomans
  • Izzy Yeomans
  • Forest Langlee
  • Christopher Russell
  • Ricky Garcia
  • Daniel Gravois

Historic Photos Courtesy:

  • The Lower Colorado River Authority

Underwater Footage Courtesy:

  • Robert Weiss
  • Travis County Sheriff’s Office

Austin-Travis County

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