Released: August 24, 2015 - Monday, 05:03 PM

Water Rescue and Lifesaving Incident

Contact: Tony CipollaPhone: (805) 781-4547Date and time of incident: 8-22-15, Approximately 1:10 PMPlace of Occurrence: Lopez Lake, near the DamVictim Information: Adult Female, 50, Santa MariaSuspect Information: N/AOn 8-22-15 while patrolling on the water at Lopez Lake, Deputy Matthew Shields and a County Park Ranger were waved over by two people who were in distress. The personal watercraft they had been riding had overturned and they indicated that a third person, a 50 year old female, was trapped underneath the water and was not able to free herself.
Deputy Shields removed his gun belt and immediately jumped into the water to save the woman. Deputy Shields tried to roll the watercraft over but to no avail, so he swam underneath trying to locate the woman. After several attempts, he located the woman and tried to pull her out. Her life vest was caught on something under the water, most likely the handlebars of the overturned watercraft. Deputy Shields was able to free the woman and with the help of several others nearby was able to get the victim into the patrol boat. It’s estimated the woman was underwater between 90 seconds and three minutes.
The woman was conscious but not alert. Deputy Shields, who was formerly trained as an EMT and was also an ocean lifeguard in college, placed the woman on her side in the recovery position. He assessed her condition and found that she was breathing. The victim was taken to the boat launch ramp where additional County Park Rangers were waiting to provide medical aid to the victim. She was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where she is expected to survive her ordeal.