Tragedy leads Explorers to take on safety project
OROVILLE – On Sunday, April 8 the Oroville Border Patrol Station’s Explorer Post dedicate a new life jacket donar station at Deep Bay Park, the second of two they have built for swimmers and boaters on Lake Osoyoos.
A tragedy on the lake and just across the border in Canada led Border Patrol Agent John Taffolla to suggest building life jacket donar stations at Oroville’s two lakeside city parks, according to Kolo Moser, Patrol Agent In Charge United States Border Patrol Spokane Sector, Oroville Station. Tafolla, the lead advisor to the Oroville Explorers, boarded a boat on Lake Osoyoos and responded to a search and rescue of a young girl who was in distress at Haynes Point, near the United States/Canadian Border.
“When BPA Tafolla arrived on scene, another vessel was pulling 12-year-old Naziah Mohammed’s body from the water. The following investigation concluded that 12-year-old; Naziha Mohammed did not know how to swim and was not wearing a lifejacket while walking the shoreline in shallow water with her friend when she suddenly stepped into deeper water,” said Moser, in his invitation to the life jacket donor station’s dedication.
The windy conditions that day and the sudden drop off/steepness of the lake bottom contributed to dragging Naziha further away from shore leading to her drowning near the shoreline in 10 feet of water.
“Border Patrol Agent Tafolla, the father of three young children recognized a way to perhaps prevent another drowning tragedy. He, the United States Border Patrol and the Border Patrol Explorers would make it a priority to work with the City of Oroville, Midway Building Supply and other local stakeholders to build two life jacket donor stations on Lake Osoyoos, the first at Deep Bay Park and the second at Veterans Memorial Park,” said Moser.
After obtaining the necessary permission from the city of Oroville, the Border Patrol Explorers along with Oroville Border Patrol Agents, completed the project in the fall of 2017.
“The donor station works on the honor system. If you need a life jacket you just borrow one and then bring it back when you’re done with it,” said Tafolla at the dedication.