A 24-year-old Tennessee man drowned in Lake Tapps on Saturday afternoon, disappearing underwater while swimming with family members.
He was the third man in three days to drown in Pierce County lakes, officials said.
Two men died in swimming accidents that took place on American Lake – one on Thursday and another on Friday.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victims as:
Israel A. Godkin, 24, of Spring Hill, Tenn., who died at 3:14 p.m. Saturday at Lake Tapps.
Felipe Barrazaaguilar, 28, who died at 6:15 a.m. Saturday at St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood. Lifeguards pulled him from the swimming area at American Lake Park on Friday afternoon. The Tacoma man had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, but exhaustive CPR by lifeguards and paramedics revived him before he arrived at the hospital in critical condition, Lakewood Fire Capt. Jenny Sharp said.
Zachery Berry, 21, of Tacoma, who died Thursday evening after he jumped from a boat and tried to swim to shore. Lakewood police and fire divers found him in about 12 feet of water at 9:30 p.m.
The men’s deaths illustrate how treacherous lakes can be and how quickly a swimmer can get into trouble, said Dina Sutherland, public education specialist for East Pierce Fire & Rescue. They also underscore the need for life vests in and on the water, she added.
Godkin was swimming with family members Saturday afternoon when he suddenly disappeared.
“We speculate hypothermia may have been a factor” in the drowning, Sutherland said. “One family member saw him go under; he appeared to be fatigued.”
East Pierce Fire & Rescue divers, already at the lake for a safety demonstration, were at the site within minutes and “brought him up in about 30 seconds,” she added.
Rescue crews administered CPR for about 30 minutes, but Godkin could not be revived.
Part of the safety demonstration’s message was that on hot days, the shimmering water of glacier-fed lakes is tantalizingly attractive, but it can also be deadly. The top layer of water might feel warm, but the temperature underneath is typically in the mid-50s, cold enough to quickly cripple a swimmer with hypothermia, Sutherland said.
Neither Godkin nor Berry was wearing a life jacket. Sharp didn’t know whether Barrazaaguilar had one on when he ran into trouble at American Lake on Friday afternoon.
Kris Sherman: 253-597-8659 firstname.lastname@example.org