Rescue divers scouring Lake Piru for Naya Rivera have described their mission as a ‘braille search’ with visibility so poor they are using touch to find her.
Glee actress Naya, 33, was reported missing on Wednesday after heading out on the waters on a hired pontoon boat with her son Josey, four.
Around three hours later, Josey was spotted floating alone on the vessel following a swim with his mum, tragic Naya is still missing.
Diver Max O’Brien, who is on the mission to find the missing mum, has described the terrible conditions his team are working in to locate her.
“Visibility is about one to two feet and some clearings we’ve got about three to five.
“There’s a lot of tree branches and overgrowth from when the lake was lower so we’re digging and breaking through sticks,” he explained.
Telling reporters sight was limited in the depths of the lake, O’Brien said: “Under the water it’s a lot by feel. Again there’s a lot of shrubbery and sticks that we have to break through as we’re going through.
“So it’s kind of a braille search,” he added.
It comes after police officials leading the search admitted Naya’s body ‘may never be recovered.’
Ventura Country Sheriff Sergeant Kevin Donoghue said it could be weeks before there is any news.
“If the body is entangled on something beneath the water, it may never come back up,” he said.
The lake is a 1200 reservoir that has seen numerous drownings over the years owing to it’s hazardous conditions.
Steve White, a former Ventura State Beach lifeguard said novice swimmers were at huge risk there.
“Someone will come to the beach, maybe wade out a little, step into a deeper hole or get picked up in a rip current and they begin to panic,” he said.
Ventura County Sherrif’s Office have called the search for Naya off for the night to resume on Friday morning.
A team involving helicopters, drones and divers have been battling to find the actress who was first reported missing on Wednesday.
Officer Chris Dyer confirmed at a news conference that the mission to find her and changed from search-and-rescue mission to search-and-recovery.
He said his team are presuming that the actress drowned in the lake.
“There’s no signs of foul play, no signs of anything that went wrong besides a tragic accident,” Dyer added. “Switching that mode to a search-and-recovery mode, like I said, does not change the efforts and does not change the gusto, what we push forward with the search operation. The goal is still to bring Ms. Rivera home to her family, so they can have some closure.”
Yesterday, Naya’s son Josey was spotted being reunited with his father Ryan.
36-year-old Ryan was seen holding his son his arms as he visited Naya’s sister Nicakayla Rivera’s home in Valencia, California.
Prior to this, Josey was said to be in good health after he was found alone on the pontoon.
The toddler told investigators he’d gone swimming but his mum never ‘got back up’.
The family is going through a very traumatic time right now,” Captain of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Eric Buschow, told reporters.