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Lake Mead tread water: Woman without life jacket endures lake storm, 8 ft swells

Lake Mead woman without life jacket treads water
Lake Mead woman without life jacket treads water
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A woman stranded in Lake Mead had to tread water for over three hours while she endured powerful storm winds and 8 ft. swells. Officials are saying that the woman demonstrated remarkable strength and stamina, managing to stay afloat even without the assistance of a life jacket. According to News Max this Wednesday, July 9, 2014, the victim was safely rescued after the sudden squall separated her from her husband while the two were riding jet skis.

In a devastating storm this Tuesday that elicited over 70 distress and emergency calls in the area, a woman on Lake Mead treaded surging water for a number of hours before being recovered by a local park ranger and game warden out searching for her. By unfortunate circumstance, the woman had been planning to swim shortly before the dangerous weather hit, resulting in her not wearing her life jacket at the time she lost sight of her husband.

With 8 foot swells and potent winds, the storm near Lake Mead this week was described as one of the worst and most unexpected in recent memory. Fortunately, even being out in the heaving waters for over 90 minutes, the woman was said to still be in good condition at the time of her recovery. The 30-year-old was discovered by a park ranger and game warden near the middle of the lake, having endured being washed thousands of feet before her rescue on Tuesday evening, around 8 p.m., local time.

ABC News recounts some of the additional details on this incredible survival story. The woman’s rescuers were veritably shocked at her vitality in treading such difficult waters for a prolonged period.

"She still had so much energy," parks spokeswoman Christie Vanover offered in a public statement.

Other than the woman herself, there’s likely no one more grateful at the storm victim’s sense of staying power than her husband, Mitch Calderwood. According to Calderwood, he was separated from his wife while the two had been jet skiing together on Lake Mead. He said that the extreme weather came suddenly, but he prayed fervently and believed his wife would manage until she was found.

“The storm came in so fast, it blew the jet ski away from her," he said, according to KLAS-TV. “It came out of nowhere.”

In the various distress calls made to park and police officials this week, at least one boat was sunk in the raging tides and recorded 8 ft. swells, yet no casualties were reported. Further storms are being anticipated throughout the Lake Mead and greater Nevada area for the next several weeks as the summer monsoon season in the area continues. Authorities again strongly encourage that all lake goers take necessary safety precautions seriously and wear a life jacket when out on the water.

"Life jackets and first responders saved lives today," one park spokesperson concluded today, according to local media station, KTNV-TV. "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."

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