Two brothers drowned and their sister and brother survived after the siblings’ canoe capsized in the Lexington Reservoir near Los Gatos on Sunday, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
Nicholas Nell, 35, of Scotts Valley, and his brother Raymond Nell, 30, of Aptos, were found by a sheriff’s dive team, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Kurtis Stenderup said.
None of the four siblings in the 17-foot canoe was wearing a life vest at the time the canoe overturned, Stenderup said.
“The family is distraught over all of this,” Stenderup said. “It’s very tragic.”
Sheriff’s deputies recovered the canoe and are investigating what happened, including whether windy weather was a factor, Stenderup said.
The sheriff’s office received a report of a capsized canoe about 200 feet from the shore near the Los Gatos Rowing Club at about 1 p.m.
Two occupants of the canoe, a 16-year-old girl and a 25-year-old man who are siblings of the Nell brothers, were able to swim to shore, Stenderup said.
Nicholas and Raymond Nell were missing when deputies arrived.
The sheriff’s dive team arrived and began searching for the men, and personnel from Santa Clara County Parks, Cal Fire and the Santa Clara County Fire Department also responded.
The dive team located Nicholas’ body only 20 feet from shore at a depth of 8 to 10 feet, and later found Raymond’s body about 193 feet from shore at a spot where the reservoir is 38 feet deep.
“Raymond never made it very far, and basically drowned,” Stenderup said. “Nicholas almost got to shore.”
Stenderup said a sheriff’s dive master told him that people become weighted down trying to swim in clothing and shoes that are soaking wet.
People making plans to go on a boat should “make sure that everyone has a life vest” in case of a catastrophe, Stenderup said. “The chances of survival go up.”
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