ARLINGTON – An Arlington teenager drowned about 15 feet from the shore at Twin Lakes on Wednesday after wading down a slope that ended in a deep drop-off.
The accident happened shortly before 5:20 p.m. in the south part of the lake. The 18-year-old apparently did not know how to swim, witnesses said.
His drowning was the third in Snohomish County in a week.
The man and his cousin “were just on the way in when they took a step and fell,” said Adrian Vilchis, 13, of Camano Island, who translated for the man’s Spanish-speaking family.
“They didn’t know it was that deep,” Vilchis said.
The man’s cousin and father screamed for help in Spanish and pointed to the water. Several swimmers who heard the shouts, including Vilchis, dove in to try to find the man.
“We kept diving and diving, but nobody could reach the bottom,” said Lisa Hunt of Arlington, who searched the water along with her son Alex, 14.
“It’s so sad. People don’t realize there’s so many drop-offs in the lake,” Hunt said. “I feel so bad for his family.”
The man’s body was found about 6 p.m. in about 25 feet of water, said Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy John Adams, a member of the sheriff’s dive team.
Adams reached the man within three minutes of entering the water, but the man had been submerged for about 30 minutes and was declared dead at the scene.
There is no lifeguard on duty at Twin Lakes County Park. Several signs advise swimmers to use the lake at their own risk.
People who can’t swim should stay out of the lake, sheriff’s dive team leader Sgt. John Flood said. Others should wear life jackets, he added.
Swimmers and boaters at the popular park can borrow life jackets for free from a kiosk built there by Boy Scouts in 2002.
“We wouldn’t be pulling this guy out of the water if he had been wearing a life jacket,” Flood said.
On Monday, the dive team found the body of Michael Oakley, 20, of Bothell, who drowned below Canyon Falls on the Skykomish River near Index. He was swept over the falls as he was trying to rescue a friend Sunday afternoon.
In the third drowning in a week, Edward R. Fuller, 44, of Everett, was found unconscious in a hot tub of a south Everett apartment complex on Friday. He died Monday in a hospital.
Reporter Katherine Schiffner: 425-339-3436 or schiffner@ heraldnet.com.