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Woman Dies In Fall Into Lake

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

National Park News

Martha and James Anderson arrived in the park to go fishing early on the morning of September 4th.  They chose an area with easy access to the lake, taking a turnoff off from the old Highway 299 to a lakeside spot they had visited before. They planned to go fishing at this area, which has a very gentle and regular slope leading down to the water.  While James began getting fishing gear from the car, Martha walked down to the lakeshore.  James told responders that Martha evidently tripped on something, either a root or a rock, causing her to fall face-first into the water, striking her face hard on rocks that were just underwater off the lakeshore. James dropped his fishing gear and went to Martha’s aid, finding that she was not responsive and was bleeding a lot from her face.  He began calling for help, as Martha was too large for him to pull her from the water. Two fishermen across the narrow lakeshore waved but continued fishing (they quickly departed the area when they later saw emergency vehicles arrive). The couple’s son, Jonathan Momsen, and his wife Monea arrived soon thereafter to join them for fishing.  Jonathan had a cell phone and called 911, and both helped James pull Martha up on the shore.  The 911 call was dispatched to Shasta County Sheriffs Office deputies and CAL FIRE firefighters, who responded immediately, then to NPS rangers shortly thereafter.  Although CPR was in progress when they arrived, it was stopped by emergency personnel because it was obvious that Martha was deceased. The death investigation is being led by the Shasta County coroner and Shasta County deputies with assistance from NPS rangers. James was transported to an area hospital for treatment of hypothermia. As of this time the fishermen witnesses have not been located.


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