The Ventura County Sheriff's Department has resumed the search for Glee actress Naya Rivera, who went missing Wednesday on Lake Piru. The search had been called off Wednesday night due to darkness, though authorities promised to resume the search and rescue operation "at first light." On Thursday morning, the sheriff's department tweeted the search for Rivera "will continue."
The search for Naya Rivera will continue this morning at Lake Piru. The lake will be closed to the public while search operations continue. Dive teams from throughout the region will be assisting us through mutual aid. @VCAirUnit @Cal_OES @fillmoresheriff pic.twitter.com/q6LsHd8xaT— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) July 9, 2020
Teams are looking for Rivera by both air and water. Along with helicopters in the air, authorities confirmed that "dive teams from throughout the region will be assisting us through mutual aid." Video shared by the department Wednesday had shown a helicopter landing in a nearby parking lot. As the search continues, Lake Piru has been closed to the public.
The search for the 33-year-old actress had begun Wednesday afternoon, with the sheriff’s department stating at the time that they were searching for a "possible drowning victim." At that time, they did not provide any additional information, though they later confirmed that Rivera was the missing person.
Authorities were alerted to Rivera's disappearance at around 4:40 p.m. local time after Fillmore police received a call, according to Fox 11. A boater had discovered a pontoon boat that the actress had rented floating adrift on the lake. Her 4-year-old son, Josey, was discovered asleep and unharmed aboard the watercraft. He told authorities that he and his mother had gone swimming, though she had never returned to the boat. Josey, whom Rivera shares with her ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, was wearing a life vest, though an adult life vest was also discovered aboard the boat. Rivera was last seen at 1 p.m. when she rented the boat. Her black G-Wagon was discovered in the rental company's parking lot. According to Los Angeles' Fox affiliate, Rivera's purse was in the car. According to multiple reports, Rivera is "presumed dead."
Speaking with CBS Los Angeles, Captain Eric Buschow said that "there's a lot of challenges in a reservoir this size, at times with visibility" and that he does not "have details yet as to the depth of the area where the boat was found or what conditions they're encountering out there." According to a previous report from the Los Angeles Times, Lake Piru has a history of drowning deaths, many of which have been said to be due to inexperienced swimmers not wearing life vests or swimming in prohibited areas. In 2009, a family filed a $12 million lawsuit against United Water Conservation District, which owns the lake, after a 9-year-old girl drowned there, according to the Ventura County Star. In the suit, the family described conditions in the lake, which include "drop-offs and underwater cliffs that were not visible."