UPDATED: Man Drowns In Lake Piru Trying To Save Daughter
Swimming excursion turns fatal, passing boaters rescue children.
UPDATED 12:43 p.m. Tuesday
Three children are safe after a harrowing early evening swim that turned fatal for their father.
According to Capt. Frank O'Hanlon of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, the children and their father were swimming around 5:45 p.m. Monday around a pontoon boat on Lake Piru when the youngest girl fell into the water. She was wearing a life vest, but for unknown reasons, when the father jumped in to get her back up onto the boat, he went under.
No body has been recovered but the man who authorities presume drowned has been identified as Anatoly Smolyansky, 39, a Los Angeles resident. Smolansky's children, ages 9, 7 and 5, were not harmed.
Passing boaters saw the children in distress and brought them to safety. O'Hanlon said a search commenced for the father's body, but rescue swimmers, air units or divers were unable to locate him and the search was called off at midnight.
Captain Ross Bonfiglio of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department said that divers returned at daybreak to search the lake, but said it may be week or more before Smolyansky's body is found.
He added that a large contingent of search and rescue volunteers arrived from Hatzolah, a Jewish volunteer group trained in emergency response, and worked side-by-side with other county rescue personnel.