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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Tuesday May 25th, 2010 :: 02:42 p.m. PDT


Body Recovery from Lake Piru

Nature of Incident: Body Recovery

Location: Lake Piru

Date & Time: 5-25-2010 / 11:35 a.m.

Unit Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff Search and Rescue

Victims: City of residence Age

Roberto Barrios Los Angeles, CA 36 years


On Monday morning, 5/24/10, at approximately 11:35 a.m., the body of Roberto Barrios was recovered from the bottom of Lake Piru. Barrios was reported missing on Saturday after he disappeared below the surface of the water while swimming with friends during an outing after the group had graduated from nursing school.

A party of nine people rented a pontoon boat from the Lake Piru Marina and motored to Pump House Point where three members of the party decided to go for a swim. Two of the group donned life preservers, but Barrios elected not to. As the trio jumped into the water the wind became extremely strong and blew the pontoon boat away from the swimmers. Barrios was seen struggling in the choppy waves of the lake and soon disappeared below the surface. A passing boat recovered the two other swimmers.

Emergency personnel were summoned and the Ventura County Aviation Unit responded with a SCUBA equipped diver and a rescue swimmer onboard who were deployed into the lake. They were able to immediately start searching the bottom of the lake while the Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Dive Team was activated.

Upon arrival of the dive team, they began a systematic search of the lake bottom where Barrios was reported missing. Side-scan sonar was also employed to increase the size of the search area and search the deeper sections of the lake. The search was terminated at nightfall and resumed again at daybreak on Sunday morning.

The search continued throughout Sunday with 12 Sheriff’s Department Volunteer Search and Rescue divers. The divers were operating in difficult conditions at depths of 45 to 70 feet with visibility ranging from 2 to 8 feet and the water temperature was a numbing 52 degrees.

After suspending the search again due to darkness on Sunday, the search was resumed on Monday morning. With the aid of a photograph taken of Barrios on the pontoon boat just prior to him going swimming, the search area was recalculated based upon the background captured in the image. Divers were deployed in a slightly different area and were able to locate Barrios’ body on the lake bottom at a depth of 50 feet.

The Sheriff’s Department encourages all boaters to wear life preservers so terrible tragedies like this one can be prevented.

Officer Preparing Release: Sgt. Frank Underlin

Follow-up Contact: Sgt. Frank Underlin (805) 388-4212

Date of Release: 5/25/10

Approved By: Captain Dave Murray

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93009

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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