SCUBA Team Searches for Missing Man in Lake Mendota

Friday, June 22, 2012 - 2:21am

The City of Madison Fire Department's Lake Rescue Team has taken its divers out of the water after more than three hours of searching for a swimmer reported missing this morning near the Lake St. access to Lake Mendota.

The incident was first reported by the 22-year-old man's female companion at 2:46 a.m. She told authorities that the two were swimming when he went under the water. She attempted to assist him to shore, but after losing sight of him, returned to shore on her own to call 911.

Police officers searched along the shore to determine if the man was able to reach safety on his own. Sailboats in the area were also searched.

The missing swimmer became distressed near the sailboats in an area of the lake that is about 12 feet deep.

MFD divers are equipped with underwater lights to assist in their search, but divers say the lack of daylight and thick weeds in the area hampered their search.

The Dane County Sheriff's Department's dive team was called for assistance shortly after 3:00 a.m. They arrived at the scene at daybreak and will now take over recovery operations.

The MFD Lake Rescue Team is made up of 51 scuba divers, certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.

The team is based at Firehouse #1, 316 West Dayton Street, where a rescue boat is trailered and ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947