Glee star Naya Rivera may have hit her head diving from her boat into a California lake, a diver searching for her body told DailyMailTV.
Search and rescue diver Robert Inglis said Rivera could have dived into the water from her boat and hit her head on one of the branches, shrubs and rocks beneath the surface of the Ventura reservoir that can be deceptively shallow.
The actress’ four-year-old son was found alone in a rented boat on Lake Piru in Ventura on Wednesday evening with no sign of his mother.
‘People have broken their necks before. It’s happened in pools quite frequently, it can happen in lakes as well,’ Inglis told DailyMailTV.
Naya Rivera remains missing and is believed to have died in a ‘tragic accident’, two days after she disappeared on a boating trip at Lake Piru with her four-year-old son Josey
Diver Robert Inglis said Glee actress Naya Rivera could have dived into the water from her boat and hit her head during her Wednesday outing on Lake Piru with her son Josey
‘If you go into some coves you could have 3ft off bottom and not even see it until you jumped in,’ he added. ‘There are places [like that] with the lake when you start to get more north because that’s where the shallow part of the lake is. There’s a lot of brush, you have these trees that are there and they do stick up.’
Police are using sonar, underwater robots, a chopper and even sniffer dogs on boats searching for the body of the Glee star.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Department released footage Friday from a camera on the underwater drone, showing the murky view underneath the surface of Lake Piru – which can reach 130 ft at its deepest according to Ventura Sheriff’s Department Captain Eric Buschow.
During a media briefing on Friday, Captain Eric Buschow shared that the search on Friday began at 6am.
As boats combed through the lake, helicopters could be seen flying above assisting in the search
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is now assisting in the search for Rivera. It is believed she may have hit a branch or rock while jumping into the reservoir
Lake Piru is scheduled to be drained to 65ft next month to perform ‘seismic retrofitting on the lake’s dam,’ the Wrap reports. The project was planned prior to Rivera’s disappearance.
During Friday’s search, there were only 40 rescue personnel looking for Rivera. Dangers of low visibility prompted the reduction in workers, according to Deadline.
Inglis said search teams from San Luis Obispo, Tulare and Los Angeles counties pitched in with the extensive three-day search that has so far yielded no results.
The 48-year-old search and rescue diver told DailyMailTV it’s also possible Rivera, who was not wearing a life vest, got into difficulty swimming amid two-foot waves out on Lake Piru on a windy day.
During a media briefing on Friday, Captain Eric Buschow shared that the search on Friday began at 6am
Only 40 rescuers were at the scene looking for Rivera on Friday, a sharp contrast to the 100 that were at Lake Piru on Thursday
‘You should have a life vest when you’re in the water. The wind starts to bring up a lot of surf, one or two feet high. When you’re not familiar with it, it can break on you and that can get tiresome,’ he said.
Inglis, who has 20 years diving experience, explained that parts of the lake used to be above water and so the murky depths, where visibility drops to zero at 20 ft, conceal an ‘underwater forest’ of trees and brush.
He said it was possible Rivera hit her head on the submerged vegetation or hidden rock when diving into the water.
The Ventura Sheriff’s Department are using side-scan sonar to locate Rivera’s body by bouncing soundwaves off the lake bed, and an ‘underwater drone’ to investigate more dangerous parts of the brush-covered bottom.
This diagram shows where Naya Rivera and her son rented a boat on Lake Piru before the four-year-old was seen alone. The map in the top left shows the location of the lake in relation to Los Angeles where Rivera lives
Police are using sonar, underwater robots, a chopper and even sniffer dogs on boats searching for the body of the Glee star
One blue-eyed human remains detection dog called Piglet was also aiding with the search, standing at the front of a search boat nosing out any bubbles of gas rising to the surface from a submerged corpse.
Inglis said sonar and a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) were a great help to divers scouring the bottom with their hands, often in total darkness.
‘You could swim right by something if you didn’t happen to be in that right spot,’ he said.
‘We brought in some side-scan sonar which allowed us to search a 20-30ft swath at a time. That will give us targets to go search.
A rescue worker is led by a German Shepherd brought in to detect gasses released by cadavers
‘Sonar gets a reflection from things in the water. It’s a shadow that we see, and we have to interpret that shadow. It could be a rock, a bush, a person. They put down a float and mark that then call in a dive team to come in and check that area.’
Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Kevin Donoghue told DailyMail.com that it was ‘definitely a possibility’ Rivera hit her head while diving, and added that the calm lake can be deceptively dangerous.
The 911 call the boat rental facility made, incorrectly calling Naya Rivera’s son a girl when reporting the actress missing
The Ventura Sheriff’s Department has released audio of the 911 call made on Wednesday by the boat rental facility at Lake Piru after an employee noted that Naya Rivera and her son had not returned.
In the call, the employee initially notes that a girl was left alone in the boat, adding that she was not actually down at the scene to see.
Employee: ‘Lake Piru, the emergency is we have a missing person. We found a little girl in one of the boats by the south end the mom is nowhere to be found.’
Dispatcher: ‘Okay, Lake Piru… Okay and is she white, black, Asian or Hispanic?’
Employee: ‘I have no idea, I’m headed down there right now to go check. My husband was one of the people who were first there and I am going to get more information. He just told me to call it in.’
Dispatcher: ‘Okay… Do you know if it is a boy or a girl?’
Employee: ‘I believe it is a little girl.’
Dispatcher: ‘Approximate age?’
Employee: ‘Like I said, I have no idea. I’m heading down there right now. Do you want me to call it back when I get there?’
Dispatcher: ‘I’ll put the little bit of information that I have but yeah when you get there, can you give us a call back.’
‘I’ve been up here for other drownings in the past. Water safety is one of those things where people can easily get complacent and can quickly get into trouble,’ he said.
‘In this case we don’t know if Ms Rivera had some sort of medical episode. That’s something we won’t be able to learn until we find her and the medical examiner does his investigation.’
Donoghue said Rivera’s family told police she was in good health when they last spoke to her.
‘The only information I’ve been given from the family is that she’s been to this lake before, she’s physically fit, she enjoys the outdoors, enjoys the lake. I don’t know if she’s been out here previously with her son before.
‘As far as we know there was no question about her mental health, she was fine.’
Donoghue said police interviewed everyone they knew was on the water at the time but got no leads.
‘On Wednesday when this began, some time around 1pm she came to the boat launch concession stand, rented a pontoon boat for a three-hour period,’ he said.
‘The CCTV camera footage was also released and the video shows the boat going north.
‘The concessionaires noted that at 4pm she didn’t come back when she was supposed to. At 4.30pm they took one of their own boats and went out looking for her and they found the boat adrift with the son on board.
‘The employee that made that discovery called their supervisor and that supervisor made the 911 call.
‘There was an adult-sized life vest found on the boat. Her purse and ID were found on the boat. All of her other belongings were found in her car that was parked here.’
Rivera’s son told authorities he and his mother had gone swimming but said she never made it out of the water. It’s unclear how the boy was able to get back onto the boat on his own and in which area she vanished.
Search operations have been hampered by the poor visibility in the water which rescuers say is murky and full of plants and debris. Police said it’s possible Rivera’s body ‘may never come back up’ if it is ‘entangled on something beneath the water’.
Four-year-old Josey has meanwhile been returned to his family and was yesterday pictured in the arms of his father, Rivera’s ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, 36.
On Thursday authorities released CCTV footage of the actress and her son arriving at Lake Piru and boarding their pontoon boat hours before she disappeared on Wednesday.
Rivera was seen pulling up to the dock in her Mercedes-Benz SUV around 1pm on Wednesday, before hopping on a rental boat with the boy and heading out into the lake.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office released CCTV footage showing Naya Rivera and her four-year-old son arriving at the dock on Lake Piru on Wednesday
The pair climbed onto their pontoon boat rental before heading out into the lake at around 1pm