Richmond man drowns in Laurel Lake
A Richmond man drown Monday night near the spillway at Laurel Lake.
Whitley County Coroner J. Andrew Croley pronounced 21-year-old Zachary Anderson dead at the scene about 9:30 p.m.
Woodbine Search and Rescue and Oak Grove firefighters were called to the beach at the spillway about 8 p.m. in response to a 911 call of a possible drowning.
Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses said Anderson went under in the cove between the beach and the shoreline on the Whitley County side of the lake.
Witnesses reported that Anderson and a friend had walked from the beach across the bridge and along the shoreline. However, as they were returning, they elected to take a shortcut by swimming across the cove to the beach.
“For some reason he went under,” Moses said, noting the water is approximately 28 feet deep where Anderson reportedly went under.
Moses said Anderson’s friend was able to give searchers a good lead on where to concentrate their efforts.
In addition to local emergency personnel, Moses said divers from Southeast Louisiana Underwater Search and Recovery joined the effort, using their sonar and remote operated vehicle (ROV) to locate the body.
The divers are currently at the lake in their on-going search to find Clarence Holmes, who went missing in the lake on July 5, 2012.
“They volunteered and I’m glad they did,” Moses said. “It probably saved us a lot of time.”
Croley said while no autopsy will be performed a blood sample was taken to perform a blood toxicology test.
“That is standard procedure,” Croley said, noting there is nothing to lead officials to suspect the use of drugs or alcohol as a factor.
Emergency personnel, including Woodbine Search and Rescue, Oak Grove Fire Department, Laurel County Rescue Squad, Bald Rock Fire Department, Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County, Whitley County EMS, Laurel County Emergency Management, Whitley County Emergency Management and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife all responded to the scene.
Moses said despite the warming air temperatures, the water temperatures remain cold and swimmers should take that into account.
In addition, because of the severe and sudden changes in depth as you move across the lake, Moses said boaters and swimmers should wear a lifejacket.