Boy, 5, dies from boating accident at Kaweah Lake

Boy fell off house boat during Memorial Day weekend, died next day


THREE RIVERS – One family is mourning a week after a tragic memorial day weekend drowning. 

On Sunday, May 27, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a near drowning of a 5-year-old boy at Lake Kaweah. By Monday, he passed away at Valley Children’s Hospital as a result of the drowning accident.

According to reports the boy, later identified as V. Damian Ellis from Visalia, was on a house boat with his family anchored near the shore at Greasy Cove. Ellis had been wearing his life jacket but took it off while he watched movies because he was cold. Reports noted a commotion was heard from his 8-year-old brother who was trying to get Ellis out of the water after he fell off the rear of the boat.

Others got the victim to shore and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), including a nurse and respiratory nurse who were nearby.

Sheriff’s received the 911 call at 6:25 p.m. and the wife of one of the nurses drover her boat to find the Sheriff’s deputies patrolling Lake Kaweah who were already en route. Sheriff’s transported Ellis to the marina via their boat where an ambulance met them.

After being taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center for evaluation he was flown to Valley Children’s for treatment. Ellis passed away on Monday.

The Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone children under the age of 13 must wear life jackets while on a boat or personal water craft in motion on the water. 

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