Las Vegas Sun

April 25, 2014

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Romanian visitor dies in boating accident on Lake Mead

A Las Vegas man boating today with his 62-year-old mother visiting from Romania sent a distress call to National Park Service rangers about 4:48 a.m.

The man's boat hit a land mass shortly after their boat left Callville Bay and both son and his mother, Elena Vlad, fell overboard, said Roxanne Dey, park service spokeswoman.

"He was adamant when he told rangers he did not hit the shoreline," Dey said. This is the second overnight boating accident in less than a week.

However outcroppings, like rocky fingers, stick out into Lake Mead all around the shoreline, Dey said. As the water level has dropped more than 100 feet, more of these outcroppings are nearing the surface or emerging in plain sight, she said.

The distraught man told park rangers that his mother appeared to hit her head on rocks and then started floating way in the water wearing her life jacket, Dey said. The man was able to reach his mother and pull her body into the boat, then he drove to Callville Bay while calling for help. He started CPR while waiting for help to arrive.

National Park Service rangers and Forever Resorts employees from Callville Bay Marina arrived and attempted life-saving measures until a helicopter arrived to airlift Vlad to a local hospital, Dey said.

Vlad was pronounced dead by the Mercy Air medical team. The Clark County coroner will determine the exact cause of death, whether head trauma from striking rocks, drowning or some other cause.

Dey said it was dark when the accident happened since the sun rose at 5:28 a.m. However, the boat did have lights, but authorities don't know whether they were on at the time, she said.

The man and park rangers were back on the water this morning, searching for the spot where the accident occurred, Dey said.

This is the 16th fatality at Lake Mead National Recreation Area this year, Dey said.

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