Saturday, July 7, just after 3:30 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office received reports of a subject in distress in the water at Isabella Lake. Deputies arrived in the area and found several boats in the water searching for the man, about one half mile northeast of the French Gulch launch ramp.
Witnesses said the missing man, later identified as 25 year old Nicholas Smith of Los Angeles, was boating with his family and friends. Smith jumped in the water on his own accord; however, the wind began to blow their boat away from him. Smith struggled to get back to the boat but became too tired to make it. Another man on the boat jumped in to help Smith but was unable to hold onto him before Smith slipped under the water.
Members of the Kern County Sheriff – Kern Valley Search and Rescue Unit, the Kern County Park Ranger – Lake Patrol Unit, the Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit, patrol deputies, and USFS and BLM law enforcement personnel searched for several hours, but were unable to locate Smith. Due to high winds, the Sheriff’s Office – Search and Rescue Dive Team was unable to deploy side scan sonar equipment before it became dark. The search was suspended for the night due to the winds.
A body was found on the morning of Tuesday, July 10, and was confirmed by family to be Smith.