Lake Billy Chinook drowning victim identified

Oregon City man, 52, tried to dive off boat deck

CULVER, Ore. - Jefferson County authorities on Monday identified an Oregon City man who tried to dive off a pontoon boat at Lake Billy Chinook, hit his head on a railing and sank out of sight. Search efforts so far have proven unsuccessful for either of Central Oregon's two apparent drowning victims in two days.

Sheriff Jim Adkins identified the man as Patricio Pineda, 52, who he said was not wearing a life jacket. Friends said he hit his head on a railing before disappearing beneath the water's surface. They began searching for him and called for help, prompting a rescue effort.

Adkins also said investigators learned Pineda had consumed alcohol, but witnesses said they don't believe he was intoxicated.

Sheriff's office marine patrols are still checking the area for any sign of Pineda. Adkins said the water in the area of the Metolius arm of the lake where the man disappeared, about 3/4 of a mile from Round Butte Dam, is about 275 feet deep.

The sheriff also said they are contacting outside experts with special equipment, asking them to assist in the search. So far, all have been busy with other searches.

The Klamath County Sheriff's Office sent its boat equipped with side-scan sonar last Friday to assist in the search for the region's other apparent drowning victim.

Michael Mead, 29, of Bend, and another man and dog were tossed into Wickiup Reservoir west of La Pine early Thursday morning when their boat capsized. The other man and dog made it to shore safely. 

Search efforts so far have proven unsuccessful, but Deschutes County Sheriff's Office marine patrols continue to look for him. In that incident, deputies said the man was not wearing a life jacket and that alcohol was a factor.

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