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Reno man drowns at Frenchman Lake

Joshua Sebold
Staff Writer
7/21/2010

Richard David Yee, a 26-year-old Reno resident, drowned Monday, July 19, in Frenchman Lake in Plumas County.

Yee was attempting to swim across a section of the lake with some friends in the late afternoon near the Crystal Point recreation area.

He was ferrying fishing supplies across the water on a small flotation device he was propelling when some of the equipment slipped off and fell into the water.

Yee stopped, went under to retrieve the belongings, and never came back up.

His friends had nearly reached the opposite shore when he disappeared and were too exhausted to reach him in time to do anything.

Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood said Yee became entangled in some underwater plants and probably didn't have the energy to get free.

Another member of the party who stayed on shore caught the entire horrifying incident on video.

The sheriff's search and rescue unit and Forest Service representatives responded to the incident and used the video to locate and recover Yee's body the next afternoon.

Hagwood said alcohol and drugs were not involved in the incident, which he attributed to exhaustion and overestimating swimming abilities.

Hagwood said distances on water could be deceiving and relatively shallow depths could create an illusion of safety.

The section of the lake where Yee drowned was eight feet deep.

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