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South Seattle man drowns in Lake Chelan when inflatable kayak capsizes

CHELAN COUNTY, Wash. - Chelan County Sheriff's Office has reported a 36-year-old man from Tacoma, Washington drowned in Lake Chelan Saturday when his two-person inflatable kayak flipped over. 

The incident occurred north of the dock area at Lake Chelan State Park. 

Around 2:49 p.m., authorities began receiving calls of two people in the water. One of the individuals had not resurfaced. Several boaters who were participating in a fishing derby in the area began actively searching for the missing person. State Park Rangers, Sheriff's Deputies, Chelan County Fire District 7 and Lake Chelan EMS responded to assist in the search. 

It was discovered that the missing individual, Bonventure Gitau, had not been wearing a lifejacket when the two-person inflatable kayak he was in with his friend capsized. 

Gitau was momentarily in the water but then disappeared under the surface, according to witnesses. His friend, Jackson Njaru, 31, from Puyallup, Washington, made it to a nearby boat and was pulled from the water in fair condition. 

Just before 4:00 p.m., a diver from Fire District 7 found Gitau's body on the bottom of the lake. The body was released to the Chelan County Coroner's Office. 

The Sheriff's Office reminds people planning to swim in lakes and rivers this season to use flotation devices in any type of vessel. 


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