CLAY, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is encouraging boaters to wear personal flotation devices after a drowning Sunday on Dale Hollow Lake.
TWRA says Christina Esparza, 46, left Cedar Hill boat ramp in inflatable kayaks with her 17-year-old son Sunday morning. Winds were 15-25 miles per hour and the water was choppy, according to TWRA.
Dock workers told TWRA the woman was struggling to keep up with her son in the rough water. TWRA said both kayakers were at least 100 yards from shore in water depths between 60-120 feet when the son noticed his mother had flipped her kayak and was nowhere to be seen.
TWRA said the woman had a personal flotation device in her boat but was not wearing it at the time the boat flipped. Search crews received the report of a missing kayaker at around noon.
Clay County and Overton County rescue, TWRA officers, Clay County Emergency Management Agency and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene and searched for Esparza utilizing a remote operated vehicle until storms and rough waters caused them to stop the search. TWRA said unsafe conditions continued into the night and the search was called off around 9:00 p.m. Recovery efforts resumed Monday morning.
Esparza’s 17-year-old son was cared for by Child Protective Services until family arrived from out of state.