Early Wednesday morning, a man was found dead in the water after driving an SUV into Lake Austin. Divers, along with Austin Police, found the body around 2:30 a.m. This was a few hours after receiving the emergency call. Police stated that the driver had driven off a boat ramp near the Pennybacker Bridge.
Emergency dispatchers received a call from a witness close to 11 p.m. The witness informed them that the SUV had gone into the water with one person inside.
Emergency personnel arrived on the scene within minutes. Then, rescue swimmers put on their gear and went into the water. The SUV’s headlights were visible, although the vehicle was sitting in twelve feet of water.
The rescue team grew as more were called in to the scene. After thirty minutes of searching – swimming around the vehicle and searching within and around it, the Austin Fire Department changed their tactics.
Captain Andre De la Reza stated: “Due to water conditions that we have in Texas, we have a standard half-hour search window before we transition into recovery mode.” He explained that the divers searching were not using oxygen tanks. Therefore they only had limited times underneath the water, holding their breath. Later, tanked divers joined the operation.
De la Reza stated: “Ideally what we are doing here is looking for that quick instinct, quick on scene and trying to rescue, grab someone, pull them out, and deliver them to EMS as a viable patient. Tonight we were not able to achieve that.”
Unfortunately, despite all the efforts from rescue teams, they were not able to find the man alive in Lake Austin.