By Kevin MacMillan
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A Bay Area man died last Friday, Aug. 23, after falling off a paddleboard and drowning in Lake Tahoe, an official said.
Kenneth Campo, 42, of San Mateo, Calif., was about 200 to 300 yards off shore at Sand Harbor State Park when he fell in the water at about 3:45 p.m., said Edwin Lyngar, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Wildife’s law enforcement division.
While the paddleboard was equipped with a life jacket and foot leash, Campo was wearing neither, Lyngar said.
Witnesses said they heard Campo shout once for help after falling, Lyngar said. An employee working with a rental company at Sand Harbor retrieved Campo from about 20 feet of water, but resuscitation efforts from emergency responders were not successful.
Campo was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
The incident remains under investigation and is being treated like any boating accident, Lyngar said, because a paddleboard is considered a vessel.
“The important thing to remember about this very tragic accident is that paddlebaords and kayaks are boats … you can drown from them just like you can drown from falling off a boat,” he said. “Life jackets are required to be carried on paddleboards.”
Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the incident, Lyngar said.
An initial investigation indicates Campo borrowed the paddleboard from someone.
“It may have been rented, but not (by Campo),” Lyngar said. “While the renter received a safety briefing, it doesn’t appear (Campo) got a safety briefing.”
Campo was on the launch side of Sand Harbor in an area where many people kayak and paddleboard in the wake of departing and entering boats. Such activity can be dangerous, Lyngar said, considering there are no lifeguards watching over that area.