AUSTIN — AUSTIN -- We have seen the same scene again and again this summer: rescuers searching for a swimmer who went missing on Lake Travis.

"I've become accustomed to being, ‘Oh no, there's probably a body some place nearby,’” said lake visitor Douglas VanBenthuysen.

He said he was at the lake during a drowning at Bob Wentz Park over the Memorial Day weekend.

"One of the other guests that was here went over to administer CPR,” he said.

One person drowned during that incident. While that is the only confirmed drowning, the sheriff's office said three people remain missing on Lake Travis.

One last seen on a sandbar June 10.

One last seen May 5.

Another, last seen May 19, was a woman who fell off a party barge.

The sheriff's office said last year, four people drowned on the lake. In 2016, seven people drowned.

"A common denominator we see time after time is that people who drown in Lake Travis were not wearing a life jacket,” said Travis County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Kristen Dark.


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"Lake Travis is a flooded canyon,” Dark said. “It doesn't have sloped sides like most lakes do. It drops off. You can be standing in three feet of water, and take one step and you're in 15 feet of water.”

The sheriff's office said it cannot confirm whether alcohol was a factor in every case this year. But drinking on the lake can cause problems.

"When you consume alcohol in high temperatures, it has an effect on you very quickly,” said Dark. “People have a tendency to get dehydrated, in addition to being impaired by the alcohol.”

The inviting waters can be dangerous if you are not prepared.

"It doesn't matter how good a swimmer you are,” she said. “If you swallow water, if you start having a medical emergency, you're going to be in a situation where seconds count."

There are three life jacket loaner stations on Lake Travis. One at Bob Wentz Park, another at Mansfield Dam Park and another at Lakeway City Park.

The sheriff's office also attributes the recent uptick in drownings to the fact that temperatures have been so hot early this summer, and lake levels been normal, not low as they have been in years past. Therefore, more people means the possibility for a drowning is higher.