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Helotes man drowns in Medina Lake

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC

Miguel G. Gonzales, 58, of Helotes, apparently drowned in Medina Lake on Thursday, August 25.
Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown said Gonzales was reported missing late Thursday by his son. Gonzales had been riding a personal watercraft that was found tied to a dock not far from where Gonzales’ vehicle was parked.
A search continued through the night and Friday. Gonzales’ body surfaced near the dock Friday evening. According to the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, there was no life jacket on the body.
Bandera County Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Harris reported that he had 70 boats enter the lake from the county park last weekend. “We still have a lot of water in the lake,” said Harris, “but with lower lake levels we encourage everyone to stay out in the middle of the lake and avoid the shoreline.”
Harris also urges everyone to follow the laws on boating and personal watercraft and wear life jackets.
An autopsy has been ordered.
The accident occurred in the vicinity of Tiki Island and Red Cove.
According to the Texas Water Safety Act, a personal watercraft (PWC) is defined as a type of motorboat, which is specifically designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel rather than inside the vessel.
Jet skis and wet bikes are classified as personal watercraft. Any person being towed by a PWC is considered an occupant of the PWC and is required to wear a life jacket.
Operators of PWC should be aware that all equipment requirements for regular motorboats also apply to PWC. In addition to those requirements: (1) each occupant must wear a USCG approved wearable personal flotation device, (2) if the PWC is equipped with a cut-off or kill switch, it must be attached to the operator or operator’s clothing. Inflatable life jackets are not approved for use on PWC.