Search for missing man in Lake Travis presenting challenges for team

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JONESTOWN, Texas (KXAN) — The search to recover a man who fell off a boat on Lake Travis Monday night continues despite many challenges, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Kristen Dark, Public Information Officer for the Travis County Sheriff’s Department, said the search is combing several different areas where people on the boat say they saw the man last. These pinpoints, however, have resulted in a large swath of area to search and the areas range from 40 feet to 120 feet deep.

“We can’t dive at this point,” Dark said. “Because we don’t have a good location to dive.”

Dark said the team is using sonar and other devices to find a plausible place where the man might be before diving, but there’s another challenge that the waters of Lake Travis presents.

“There’s an orchard under the water there,” Dark said. “So we have full-grown trees under there, so we have to take those into account.”

Dark says the team will do everything possible to find the man and bring closure to his family.

“But, we have to be mindful of the safety of our team,” Dark said. “We don’t want to lose another life in the process.”

Dark said that while those on the boat realized the man had fallen off the boat, it was hard for them to remember an exact spot when they were in the dark and in a high-stress situation.

The TCSO Information Officer also said that because areas of Lake Travis are so wide and a lot of them look the same, it’s hard to identify one specific part.

According to Austin-Travis County EMS, rescue crews were initially called to the scene around 8:30 p.m. after reports that the man who fell off the boat had not resurfaced.

(KXAN/Juan Salinas Jr)

Dark said TCSO is investigating whether or not alcohol was involved in the incident, but as of now, detectives don’t know. Investigators say they do know the young man was not wearing a life jacket.

“We’ve never recovered a body from Lake Travis that had on a flotation device,” Dark said. “That is what you have to do. This lake is so dangerous. You have to be wearing your personal flotation device, and especially when you’re going to be boating at dark .”

Lake Travis Fire Rescue reports the incident happened near the Emerald Point Marina in Devil’s Cove.

“We are very, very hopeful that we are going to be able to find him, but the reality is this may be something that takes longer,” Dark said. “We are going to keep looking until we’ve exhausted every avenue we have.”

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