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Lake Mead tread water: Woman rescued in middle of lake after 3 hours

The recent Lake Mead incident in which a woman had to tread water for three hours without a life jacket in the middle of the largest reservoir in the US is gaining national attention this week and National Parks Service officials are calling the woman's incredible survival story nothing short of a miracle. In a report released today, Michelle Rindels with The Associated Press explained that the woman became separated from her husband while she was jet skiing Tuesday evening.

Lake Mead
Wikimedia Commons

The incident was caused by a thunderstorm that produced 5-foot waves and even bigger swells on Lake Mead. Reportedly, the storm sank at least one boat and led to 11 rescues including one involving a woman who was forced to tread water or drown.

The unnamed woman, who is said to be in her 30s, was rescued around 8 p.m. in the middle of the lake after treading water without a life jacket for more than 3 hours.

According to JRN, she was on a personal watercraft and decided to take her life jacket off to go swimming shortly before the storm hit. She was "miraculously" found and rescued by a game warden and a park ranger. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she was treated and released. Her husband and stepson were rescued earlier in the evening.

"Life jackets and first responders saved lives today," said Christie Vanover, park spokesperson. "Visitors did the right thing when the storm came. They put on their life jackets, they moved to shore and they called for help when they needed it."

"She still had so much energy," Vanover expressed. "The son said there was a guardian angel watching over her."

Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States in maximum water capacity. It is located on the Colorado River about 24 mi from the Strip southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the states of Nevada and Arizona.There are nine main access points to the lake. On the west are three roads from the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Access from the northwest from Interstate 15 is through Valley of Fire State Park and the Moapa River Indian Reservation to the Overton arm of the lake. The lake is divided into several bodies. The large body closest to the Hoover Dam is Boulder Basin.

Newsday reports that drought in the southwestern U.S. will deplete the vast Lake Mead this week to levels not seen since Hoover Dam was completed and the reservoir on the Colorado River was filled in the 1930s, federal water managers said Tuesday.

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