VOLENTE, Texas (KXAN) — After divers were unable to find a teenage girl Thursday who went missing in the Cypress Creek Arm of Lake Travis, they will spend the day Friday searching Lake Travis. Rescue divers are looking for the teen who disappeared while wakeboarding at Volente Beach with a group from the Austin Ridge Bible Church.
Austin-Travis County EMS said they received a call about 11:30 a.m. saying the girl was missing from a group of swimmers.
On Facebook, the Austin Ridge Bible Church posted the following statement:
Dear Austin Ridge Family,
We are deeply saddened to inform you that one of our high school students drowned while swimming at our wakeboard camp today. We are asking that you join us in praying for the family in their tragic loss. In addition, please pray for the search and recovery effort. Lastly, please also pray for all the students, staff and volunteers involved in wakeboard camp as we walk through this with them.
Late Thursday, Eanes Independent School District said in an email to parents and staff that support services would be available to anyone needing help, but did not identify the teen — citing privacy laws. Counselors will be available at Westlake High School in the ninth-grade center on Friday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
STAR Flight and a handful of rescue swimmers were initially sent to the area to look for the teen. ATCEMS said there was poor visibility in the water and that their operations had switched from rescue to recovery. They were looking in an area of the lake near Geronimo Street, about one mile from the VIP Marina.
“It’s not your backyard swimming pool,” said Travis County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Roger Wade. “It’s dirty water. You can’t see very far. If you go under water, you can’t see anybody under water.”
It’s not confirmed if the girl was wearing her life vest or if debris played a role. However, Lake Travis has risen more than 30 feet the past month, and it is murky and filled with mystery.
“We’re asking people to be careful when on water,” Wade added. “Be aware not only of floating debris, but maybe brush and trees just under water.”
Divers went into the lake about 2:30 p.m. and searched for about three hours. Crews will resume their search Friday morning. The water is about 45 feet deep in that area, ATCEMS added.
Statement from Eanes ISD:
Dear parents and staff:
Throughout the day today we have heard troubling news that we feel compelled to share with you. We know that Eanes is a small community and that many children know each other through activities both inside and outside of school, through participation in camps, church and youth sports. Often our children celebrate together but unfortunately, we sometimes have difficult situations as well.
Today we have heard of a boating incident involving a female high school aged student on Lake Travis. News sources are reporting that the police are searching for a teenager who was reported missing in the water while participating in an Austin Ridge Bible Church wakeboarding camp. While privacy laws do not allow us to release any information, we felt it was important to let the community know that the school can be a resource for your children during this tough time. As more public information becomes available, we know that it will be difficult for those who may have personal connections with this young woman.
To that end, we are providing support services to anyone who may need help talking through this difficult situation. For all of our students who may know this child or her family, or who may be in need of counseling or support while we wait for additional news, we will have counselors available at Westlake High School in the Ninth Grade Center, Friday and Monday, 9am to 3pm. Students can come to the Ninth Grade Center office area and counselors will be there to offer support.
At this time, our deepest thoughts are with the family and friends of this child.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.