A rite of summer turned to tragedy Saturday when a boy drowned in a King County lake.
Divers and rescue swimmers recovered the body of the boy, believed to be a teen, from the murky waters of Five Mile Lake on Saturday evening.
The victim was swimming with a group of friends Saturday afternoon when he disappeared.
“They turned around to swim back to shore and noticed one of their friends wasn’t with them,” said South King Fire & Rescue Capt. Jeff Bellinghausen.
Some of them called 911 while others stayed in the lake to look for their friend, he said.
South King Fire’s surface water rescue team responded to the 3:11 p.m. call.
“They rescued the would-be rescuers — the friends — and brought them to shore,” Bellinghausen said. The youths were not wearing flotation devices, he said.
The divers then began searching the approximately 25-feet-deep water. After over an hour of looking, the search became a body recovery effort.
Using the King County Sheriff’s sonar unit, the body was located around 5:45 p.m. and transported to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, Bellinghausen said.
Five Mile Lake is in the Lakeland South area, east of Federal Way and west of Algona. A county park is located at the lake, but no lifeguards are on duty.
Bellinghausen stressed the importance of wearing a life jacket and to call 911 immediately in an emergency.
“People need to call early — the second someone is missing so we can get there as quickly as possible,” he said.
At least three people have drowned in Five Mile Lake since 2001, prior to Saturday’s incident.