A 63-year-old man drowned today at American Lake, as his brother tried frantically to call for help.
According to West Pierce Fire & Rescue spokeswoman Jenny Weekes, the victim and his brother - who is 65, according to Lakewood Police - were test-driving a boat when it tried to take a sharp turn and began to take on water, shortly before 1 p.m.
"It’s been reported that the 65 year old had a PFD (life vest) and the 63-year-old did not," according to Lakewood Police spokesman Chris Lawler. "The boat started to sink and the male (63) without a life vest decided to try and swim to shore."
According to Weekes, the victim had a flotation cushion.
"They were an estimated 200 yards from shore. The male got about 75 yards from the boat and disappeared under the water. The other male yelled for help and was rescued by other boaters out on the lake."
At this point, West Pierce was flooded with calls from people from around American Lake. A boat came by the sinking yellow vessel driven by the brothers and picked up the older brother.
Crews rushed to rescue the victim, but after 45 minutes, crews had conceded that the mission was to recover his body.
"The boat is about ¾ under the water and is floating bow up in the lake," Lawler said. "WPFR and LPD are working on locating and recovering the victim’s body. LPD detectives are handling the death investigation with assistance from the LPD Marine Services Unit. Plans are being made to tow the boat to shore for an inspection related to the investigation."
Patch will have more on this story as information becomes available.