Man, 66, rescued after boat capsizes on Shasta Lake

SHASTA LAKE, Calif. — Officials say a man was rescued by a citizen after the victim’s pontoon boat began taking on water and capsized near Ski Island on Shasta Lake, Thursday afternoon, May 21.

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Officials were alerted to the boat’s capsizing shortly before 3:30 p.m., after SHASCOM emergency dispatchers received reports of  an overturned pontoon boat with a man sitting on top of the partially submerged vessel, Shasta County Sheriff’s Boating Safety Unit Sgt. Rob Sandbloom has since reported.

The 911 caller reported an unknown good Samaritan had spotted the stranded man and assisted the victim, giving him a ride to Silverthorn Resort where he waited for Boating Safety Units to arrive.

Officials say a man was rescued by another citizen after his pontoon boat began taking on water and capsized yesterday afternoon. SCSO photo

When deputies assigned to the sheriff’s Boating Safety Unit arrived at Silverthorn Resort they contacted the owner and operator of the capsized pontoon, who has since been identified as 66-year-old Timothy Kearney, from Cottonwood.

“Kearney was wet, but uninjured from the accident.” said Sandbloom.

Deputies transported Kearney back to the area of the accident and found the victim’s capsized pontoon boat about 300 feet from shore on the west side of Ski Island.

Kearney told deputies he left Digger Bay by himself earlier in the day and had piloted his vessel to the Pit Arm of Shasta Lake; an area of the lake he had never visited and was unfamiliar with.

As Kearney neared Ski Island his engine malfunctioned and stopped working, according to the Sgt; who said strong winds blew his boat against the shoreline causing him to run aground on the rocky shoreline.

After working on his engine and getting it running again, Kearney realized he was stuck on the shore’s rocks.

Although Kearney was eventually able to get his boat off the shoreline and began heading back to Digger Bay, he was only underway for about ten minutes when his boat began taking on water and listing to the left side.

Officials helped the victim move his capsized pontoon boat near the west shoreline of Ski Island on Shasta Lake and the vessel will be salvaged and removed from the shoreline over the next few days. SCSO photo

Believing he had possibly punctured his pontoon trying to get off the rocky shoreline, Kearney attempted to pilot his vessel back toward the shore, but his boat quickly overturned and capsized.

As his pontoon overturned and began sinking, Kearney, who was not wearing a life jacket, managed to crawl onto the overturned vessel.

He then waited on his overturned boat until he managed to flag down a person on a passing personal water craft who gave him a ride to Silverthorn Resort.

The capsized vessel, a 1970, 28-foot Kayot pontoon boat, was eventually pulled close to the shoreline of Ski Island, until it can be salvaged and removed from the lake over the next few days, according to Sandbloom.


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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.