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Report of drowning at Steel Lake is a false alarm

Rescue crews search Steel Lake on July 28. - Kyra Low/The Mirror
Rescue crews search Steel Lake on July 28.
— image credit: Kyra Low/The Mirror

It looks like the report of the drowned diver at Steel Lake may have been a false alarm.

South King Fire and Rescue, along with other nearby agencies — including the Federal Way Police Department, King County Medic, Renton Fire and dive teams from Renton and Valley fire departments — responded to a report of a drowning at Steel Lake shortly after 5 p.m. July 28.

A witness reported to lifeguards that he saw a 30-40-year-old male, with long dark hair, possibly of Pacific Island descent, dive off the end of pier. He never saw the man come up.

Police immediately cleared the beach and fire crews were on scene in under five minutes, SKFR spokeswoman Kendra Kay said. Firefighter Travis McKinney entered the water while several other firefighters used poles to search the water. The dive teams from Renton and Valley, which have the trained teams due to more bodies of water in their districts, took over on the underwater search.

An hour into the search, no friends or family members had reported any missing loved ones, and search crews had yet to find any sign of the man.

Usually in drownings, Kay said, there are family or friends who are frantic about the missing person.

Once the firefighters and dive teams feel they have made a sufficient search, the case is handed over to the King County Sheriff’s office. The Sheriff's office was also unable to find anything.

Kay said it looks like the witness had the best intentions and was not pulling a prank. Regardless, the department takes all calls seriously.

There have been several drownings in Washington state this week as the temperatures remain in the 90s or higher.

They recommend swimming in designated areas, preferably where a lifeguard is present, and wearing a life jacket when swimming in open water. It is recommended never to dive into pools, lakes or other bodies of water, as it is unknown how deep the water is or what might be below the surface.

“We also don’t want anyone swimming alone,” Battalion Chief Rick Chaney said. “Make sure adults are supervising children and there is at least one other person around in case trouble occurs.”

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