Missing and presumed drowned 23-year-old man identified; recovery effort still underway


On June 20, 2017 at approximately 3:22 p.m., Chelan County Marine Deputies responded to calls of a possible drowning in the area known as the Three Fingers on Lake Chelan, within the Chelan City limits.

Upon further investigation it was learned that a group had rented a boat and were swimming off the back of the boat towards the middle of the lake in approximately 30-40 feet of water.

While swimming, one individual from the group started experiencing difficulties. Others from the group attempted to throw him a personal flotation device but were unsuccessful before he sank beneath the surface. The group of friends was unable to locate the distressed swimmer.

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office responded with multiple vessels along with the aid of rescue swimmers from Chelan Fire and Rescue, but were unable to locate the missing swimmer who has been identified as 23-year-old Donghoon Lee of Seattle. Donghoon was on break from attending the University of Washington on a student visa from South Korea. Rescue workers continued to work into the evening but were unsuccessful in locating Donghoon who is presumed to have drowned.

Chelan County Sheriff’s Office staff were able to work with staff from the South Korean Consulate and make the emergency notification to Donghoon’ s family.

Search and recovery efforts are scheduled to continue at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 21. Equipment and personnel include three vessels from the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division, two divers from Chelan County, and seven to eight volunteer divers from Steven’s County along with underwater camera equipment from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office would use this time as a reminder to stay educated on water safety in order for everyone to have a safe and healthy summer while visiting Chelan County.


Initial Story – Search and rescue efforts turn to recovery following presumed drowning at Lake Chelan

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office suspended the search for a 23-year-old man missing and presumed drowned in Lake Chelan on Tuesday afternoon, June 20, 2017. The man, who has yet to be publicly identified, was reported to be on a boat on Lake Chelan before being reported missing.

On Tuesday, a call to Rivercom reported the man missing at approximately 3:20 p.m. The man had jumped into the lake with at least one other friend and occupant of the boat. According to witnesses, both men had some difficulty. One needed assistance in returning to the boat. Before friends could reach the other struggling man, he reportedly disappeared beneath the surface and did not resurface.

Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol, and Chelan 7 Fire and Rescue swimmers were called to the scene and searched until approximately 8:30 p.m. when the search was called off. The man is missing and presumed drowned in Lake Chelan.

Recovery efforts will resume this morning sometime after 10 a.m. when the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) will meet with emergency personnel to coordinate the search.

Chelan County Emergency Management Specialist, Rich Magnussen with DEM reports that a dive team and underwater cameras will be brought in to aid in the search for the missing man who is expected to be identified to the public later this morning.

(By Jillian Foster, GoLakeChelan.com)