TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas - “We got a call around 4:45 Sunday afternoon from friends who had gone out with him and who hadn’t seen him for at least 30 to 45 minutes,” said Kristen Dark with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
Dark says their missing person is a Hispanic man in his 20’s last seen wearing red and black swim trunks with no shirt.
“Witnesses described a sand bar just out from Bob Wentz Park and of course we know that that’s probably like a limestone rock that’s coming out of the water. He swam out to it, he made it and was sitting on it,” she said.
When his friends didn’t see him anymore they called for help.
“We utilized a DPS fixed-wing plane to look aerielly. Jonestown PD assisted with sonar. Of course we used our own,” she said
The search was suspended Sunday night. It resumed Monday morning and ended again by early afternoon.
Dark says the challenge is they don’t know they have a “missing swimmer,” they have a “missing person.” Technically, he was last seen on dry land...and he if did try to swim back he could have swam off from any point on that sandbar. He could be anywhere.
“Not knowing any of them we have to assume all of them,” she said.
The body of a man who drowned on Memorial Day weekend was recovered...but Dark says Manuel Solis who disappeared on Cinco De Mayo near Mansfield Dam in about 140 feet of water still hasn’t been found. And neither has a woman who fell off of a party barge on May 19th in about 120 feet of water.
“Our lake patrol deputies will do shoreline searches, surface searches but sometimes people just aren’t recovered from Lake Travis,” Dark said.
Tina Woolard is visiting Lake Travis from Chicago. When her family drove up to Bob Wentz Park she realized there was a search.
“Makes me sad and makes me just nervous you know in general. I’ve always been able to swim but it makes me scared if people aren’t taking it seriously,” Woolard said.
Dark points out Lake Travis is a flooded canyon with low visibility and steep drop offs. She says swimmers should be wearing life jackets.
“Being a good swimmer’s not enough when you can’t touch the bottom, when you can’t get to the shoreline,” Dark said.
Woolard was surprised to hear so many are still unaccounted for on the lake.
“That is really scary and I think another thing is make sure you’re not out there by yourself. There’s three of us out here today and we’re going to make sure we stay together,” Woolard said.
As of Monday afternoon the Travis County Sheriff’s Office didn’t have any updates on when they would return to continue the search. They say not including this one...13 people have disappeared from Lake Travis and never been found.