Nampa teen drowns in Lake Cascade

July 9, 2013 

— A 16-year-old Nampa boy died June 29 after a swim in Lake Cascade with his family turned deadly.

Rolando Hernandez-Morales and a younger boy were attempting to to swim across a section of the lake at Sugarloaf Campground.

Lt. Dan Smith of the Valley County Sheriff's Office said the boys were following Hernandez-Morales' older brother, who made it safely to the other side.

Both Hernandez-Morales and the other boy became fatigued during the swim, said Nathan Hess, Valley County coroner.

The boy’s uncle heard the pair struggling in the water and went in to help.

"The kids were yelling for help, so he went back to help them," Hess said. The man was able to get the younger boy to safety before returning to the water in an attempt to save Hernandez-Morales.

"Hernandez-Morales was panicking and pulling his uncle under the water," Hess said. Exhausted, the rescuer lost his grip and Hernandez-Morales went under.

"When [the uncle] turned around to go back to help, he was already under the water," Hess said.

Family members called 911 for help at 3:30 p.m., telling dispatchers that they were unable to locate the teen under the surface of the lake.

"He had been under water for about seven minutes at the time of the call," Smith said.

Hernandez-Morales was rushed to St. Luke's McCall, where he was pronounced dead later that day.

The teen's death is the first drowning at Lake Cascade this year. The drowning was ruled an accident by the coroner's office.

Hess originally said the boy drowned on Saturday, but the sheriff's office clarified that he died June 29.

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