Steel Lake claims second drowning victim in three weeks

The drowning of a 12-year-old girl July 4 in Steel Lake, 2410 S. 312th St., was the second incident of its kind to occur at the lake within a three-week period.

South King Fire and Rescue responded to the call of the girl drowning shortly after 4 p.m. last Wednesday, spokeswoman Kirstie Weaver said. The girl is reported to have been at the park with her family, and was under the water in the public swimming area for approximately 20 minutes, Weaver said.

Five lifeguards were on duty near the public swim area, dock and lake shore on July 4, said Donna Hanson, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services director.

One lifeguard dove in to search for the girl upon learning the girl had gone underwater and not surfaced, Hanson said. Another lifeguard cleared the beach and two others joined in the search not long after the first lifeguard entered the water, she said.

A family member is thought to have pulled the girl from the water, Weaver said. She had no pulse, but firefighters and EMT medics administered CPR and recovered it, Weaver said. King County Medic One then transported the girl to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

The girl was later transported to another hospital where she died Thursday, July 5.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. June 14, South King Fire and Rescue responded to a call of a male juvenile drowning in the same lake. The 17-year-old from Lakewood was fishing at the lake with friends when they decided to take a swim, said Kendra Kay, South King Fire and Rescue spokeswoman.

The juvenile's friends attempted to pull him from the water, but were unable to do so due to his struggles, Kay said.

South King Fire and Rescue responded to the incident with a dive team, which pulled the juvenile from the water. He is thought to have been under the water anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, Kay said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Steel Lake is located in the 51-acre Steel Lake Park. A lifeguard is on duty in the public swimming area from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, and from noon to 7 p.m. on weekends through Sept. 3.

A minimum of three lifeguards are on duty during these hours, Hanson said.

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