Lake Charles –
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to Sam Houston State Park in Moss Bluff at approximately 8:00 a.m. this morning in reference to a possible drowning. Deputies learned this was the swimming portion of a triathlon that had just begun. Besides the athletes, the event consisted of lifeguards stationed on the land, safety spotters in kayaks, as well as, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Marine Division with boats at the beginning and end of the course on the Calcasieu River.
One of the lifeguards saw triathlete Taurean K. Blake, 25, Sulphur, who was the first participant in the event, swim about 75-100 yards and start to struggle. She dove into the water to help but before she could make it to him, one of the spotters in a kayak got to him first and tried to give Blake a paddle to hold onto but Blake went under. After several attempts they were unable to locate him after he went under the water.
When the CPSO Marine Division boats, who were posted on both ends of the race, arrived at the scene, Sgt. Ron Johnson, who is a highly trained and a highly skilled diver, threw on a tank and jumped in the water in full uniform to try to find and rescue Blake. Sgt. Kyle Mier of the Marine Division acted as the spotter for Johnson. After several attempts, Johnson was able to locate Blake in the murky water and get him into the boat and start CPR while transporting him to the shore where CPR was continued by Ward 1 Fire Department and Acadian Ambulance. A pulse was located and he was transported to a local hospital. Blake was pronounced deceased at around 4:00 p.m.
CPSO Sr. Cpl. Mark Rosteet was the lead deputy at the scene.