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Man Paralyzed From The Neck Down In Diving Accident

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

National Park News

A park visitor was seriously injured in a diving accident on the shores of Lake Roosevelt around midday on August 13th.  Robert Yamada, 21, of Spokane, Washington, was playing a game with two friends which involved them running full speed from shore and diving out to try and reach their boat, which was anchored approximately 15 feet from shore. Two of Yamada’s friends had made the dive before Yamada tried it. When it was his turn, he ran and dove into the water and went straight to the bottom just a couple of feet from shore. There were no rocks or other obstructions underwater in the area.  When Yamada resurfaced, he was face down and unconscious. Yamada's friends at first thought he was playing a joke, but they soon realized the seriousness of what happened. Suspecting he suffered a broken neck, they quickly took him to shore, called 911, and performed CPR until rangers and local EMS personnel arrived on scene.  Medstar paramedics took over care and transported him to a trauma center in Spokane. Yamada's friends had recently been recertified in CPR and life-saving skills. Alcohol was being consumed prior to the incident.  Yamada remains hospitalized and is paralyzed from the neck down due to his injuries.


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