Rangers receive 70 distress calls at Lake Mead - 8 News NOW

Rangers receive 70 distress calls at Lake Mead

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LAKE MEAD, Nev. - Tuesday’s storms caused many tense moments at Lake Mead. Dozens of boaters and swimmers were left stranded as a result of the weather.

Rangers received 70 distressed calls and executed 11 rescues. One was a Las Vegas woman who fell off her jet ski and vanished in the torrential rain.

Her husband Mitch Calderwood says she took her life jacket off moments before the storm started.

"She was swimming off the side of the jet ski, and she, unfortunately, took her life jacket off to do this swim off the jet ski. The storm came in so fast, it blew the jet ski away from her," he said.

She spent hours alone, treading water.

"We couldn't get out there. It was so bad. The waves were so high. I have no idea how she survived the water," Calderwood said. “We are very, very lucky. I think she dodged a bullet. Don't take your life jacket off; leave it on all the time."

Park rangers say they only had a five-minute warning that the storm was on its way. By the time they sent out an emergency broadcast, it was too late for many people to take cover.

Thankfully, there were no reported injuries or deaths.

Park rangers say Tuesday’s fast-moving storms illustrate why people who visit Lake Mead should be prepared before they head to the lake.

"Five minutes is not enough to get yourself to safety,” said Lake Mead National Recreation Area Public Affairs Officer Christie Vanover. “So, the first thing you should do is put your life jackets on, and, fortunately, that's what most people did."

The National Park Service recommends people wear life preservers at all times if they are around water. If you are boating, you are required to have safety equipment on board.

Park rangers say it is also critical to keep an eye on the weather. Always listen to the marine radio and stay on top of all weather alerts.

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