*This news release was originally published and distributed by the Inyo Register
By Kristina Blüm Justice
Special to The Inyo Register
Courtesy of Inyo Register
Six people and a dog nearly drowned Sunday afternoon in an accident on Klondike Lake, but quick thinking by Big Pine volunteer Fire Capt. Jason Morgan prevented tragedy.
“He deserves so much credit,” said Big Pine Volunteer Fire Department Chief Damon Carrington. “Because of the heroic effort of what he did, everyone survived. It’s pretty amazing.”
The call came through at 1:48 p.m. Sunday for a group of people drowning and yelling for help near the middle of Klondike Lake. Carrington headed for the scene and, knowing what would be required, called for additional resources to help. The rescue would require a boat, and the nearest boat dispatch could find was a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power boat in Bishop.
Out on the lake, three kayaks had overturned. Two people on paddleboards attempted to save them and ended up in the water as well. A bystander on shore managed to swim out to the drowning people and helped them cling to the overturned kayaks, but the situation was dire. No one involved was wearing floatation devices.
“What Jason did was so above and beyond, to bring his own boat out there and save these people,” Carrington said. “If those two patients had to wait another 10 minutes for the boat from Bishop, they wouldn’t have made it.”
Morgan has been a member of the Big Pine fire department for seven years.