Reclamation Employees at Lake Berryessa Help Save Lives

Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken, 916.978.5100

For Release: August 02, 2007

Bureau of Reclamation employees assigned to the Central California Area Office, Lake Berryessa Field Office, have been performing above and beyond the call of their normal duties during the past 2 months, providing assistance to injured lake visitors who could possibly have lost their lives had it not been for the employees’ quick and skilled responses.

In mid-July 2007, two Park Rangers, Nathan Kyle and Thomas Simon, were patrolling the Oak Shores Day Use Area when Maintenance Worker Leader Bill Skaggs notified them via radio of a swimmer in distress.  Rangers Kyle and Simon found the swimmer on-shore, conscious but having severe difficulty breathing.  The Rangers immediately began medical aid to stabilize the man and then waited for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to arrive.  EMS personnel were later able to release the man to the care of family members.

On the same day, Park Ranger Kyle observed a man lying face down on the shore.  Going immediately to the person’s aid, Rangers Kyle and Simon determined the man to be in severe distress, very weak, and barely breathing.  The Rangers initiated medical assessment and treatment and called for an ambulance.  The man was transported to a local hospital where he was successfully treated and released.

In late-June 2007, Concessions Specialist Patricia Blackwell responded to a report of an injury to a visitor in the Lake Berryessa Marina area.  The woman had fallen from a boat trailer, hit a tree, and plunged into a gully.  Concerned about possible neck trauma, Ms. Blackwell immobilized the victim to assure she did not sustain further injury.  Ms. Blackwell then assisted the medical technicians upon their arrival.  It was later determined that the woman did, in fact, suffer a broken neck, but she survived her fall and is recovering.

Congratulations to Park Ranger Nathan Kyle, Park Ranger Thomas Simon, and Concessions Specialist Patricia Blackwell for a job well done.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.