Search continues for possible drowning victim

LOOMIS – Authorities were still searching for Darrel L. Williams of Oroville who they believe drowned in Palmer Lake Friday, July 11.

The call about a possible drowning at Palmer Lake, near the Chopaka Lodge, came in around 12:45 p.m. on Friday. The sheriff’s office and Okanogan County Search and rescue responded to the scene with a boat, personnel and divers, according to Sheriff Frank Rogers. The U.S. Border Patrol also arrived on the scene and launched a boat, the sheriff added.

“The two subjects were fishing along the shore when Darrel L. Williams, 57, of Oroville, stood up in the back of the boat and then fell overboard,” said Rogers. “When he surfaced his partner asked him if he was okay and threw him a life jacket. Williams told him he was all right but then began to struggle and went under the water and never surfaced. Williams’s partner immediately dove in and tried to locate Williams but was unable to find him,” said Rogers in a release to the press last Monday morning.

Divers dove in the area on Friday but were unsuccessful in locating Williams. Response crews were again on the water on Saturday, with divers but again were unsuccessful in locating Williams.

“On Sunday, July 13 we again searched the area with two boats. One had divers while the other used sonar and a small underwater camera but we still have not been able to locate Williams,” writes Rogers, who adds that Search and Rescue, as well as the Border Patrol would be back on the lake with divers on Monday.

“We have a very good idea where he went in the water, but so far have been unable to find him. Divers are working in water from 35 feet to 70 feet with very poor visibility. We believe that the area Williams went down in is around 60 feet deep,” said the Sheriff.

Divers are working in temperatures at around 40 degrees while personnel in the boats are dealing with 100 to 110 degree temperatures throughout the day. They will continue searching this week to locate Williams.

“Williams is a retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent with his last duty station being at the Oroville Branch of the United States Border Patrol. Williams’s family have been notified of the accident.

This is the third drowning in Okanogan County this year.