San Luis Obispo County

SLO County coroner identifies Lopez Lake drowning victim

Victim was passenger on a boat that flipped over

Body of drowning victim at Lopez Lake...

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - [UPDATE]

The San Luis Obispo County Coroner's office has identified the Lopez Lake drowning victim as 47-year-old Darryl Tyler Redd of San Diego.

Authorities believe Redd drowned after the catamaran he was on capsized in the Cottonwood Cove area of Lopez Lake Thursday afternoon.

The SLO County Sheriff's Underwater Search and Recovery Drive Team located Redd at about 6:30 p.m., four hours after the incident occurred.

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A day of sailing on Lopez Lake in San Luis Obispo County ended in tragedy Thursday afternoon when a Hobie Cat flipped over on the water which led to the drowning of one of the boat's three passengers.

The sailboat accident was witnessed by several people in the Cottonwood Cove area of the lake which is a popular spot for windsurfing.

"We had seen them when they were getting on the catamaran and a few minutes later they had capsized", said Sylvia Garciga who witnessed the accident, "they had a hard time trying to flip it back over and when they finally flipped it over I saw three guys climb up."

Authorities say two of the men on the boat were wearing life-jackets, the third passenger was not.

"In the process of swimming to the shore the victim with no life-jacket went missing", said Chris Elms with CalFire/San Luis Obispo County Fire Dept.

That launched a massive search and rescue operation in the air, on the water and underwater with rescue divers from responding emergency agencies.

After about an hour the search was called off and became a body recovery operation by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department Dive Team.

"Given the amount of time in the water and without evidence of a person turning up, survivability is almost none", Elms said.

The area of Lopez Lake where the accident took place was buffeted by strong, gusty winds for most of the afternoon but what exactly caused the Hobie Cat to suddenly flip over on the water is under investigation.

Foul play is not suspected in the man's death which left witnesses shaken by what they had seen.

"What we had experienced a couple of years ago with my family, this kind of brings sad memories", Sylvia Garciga said fighting back tears.

The Sheriff's Department says the drowning victim is a 47-year-old man from southern California.

His name is not being released until family members are notified of his death.


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