Incident Name: drowned rescuing teenagers from icy waters of Convict Lake, Mono County, CA
Date: February 19, 1990
Personnel: 2 firefighter lost
Agency/Organization: mutual aid: US Forest Service, Inyo National Forest; Long Valley Volunteer Fire Department
Clayton Marshall Cutter, 31, US Forest Service
Douglass Vidar Anderson, 58, Long Valley Volunteer Fire Department
On February 19, 1990, Clayton M. Cutter and Vidar Anderson died from drowning in icy water at Convict Lake, CA while trying to save teenagers and other rescuers. In all, three teenagers and four adults perished.
Convict Lake, Mono County, California near Bishop
- News articles say Cutter and Anderson and others died trying to rescue teenagers that went through the ice at Convict Lake.
- US Forest Service Heroes Memorial: Clayton M Cutter
- On the California Fallen Firefighters Wall in Sacramento / LODDs by Wall Order (84 K pdf) : Clayton Cutter & Douglass Vidar Anderson , see page 18
- USFA Memorial Database: Clayton M Cutter | Douglass Vidar Anderson
- Clayton's and Vidar's names and death date are included in the USFA Firefighter Fatality Retrospective Study, published April 2002 (2,888 K pdf)
- Historical Marker Database with information on the incident and a picture showing the raw beauty of the lake.
- Lake Tragedy Gives Rise to Safety Debate : Survival: The search for the last body from Convict Lake is suspended to let divers rest. Opinions on how to prevent future deaths are divided.
February 23, 1990 | Online Article
CONVICT LAKE, Calif. — The search for the last of seven people who drowned in this frozen Sierra lake was suspended Thursday to allow divers to rest and organizers to bring in more equipment.
But as the recovery efforts quieted, a debate began over what, if anything, officials can do to guard against future tragedies... (more at the link)
- 25th Anniversary of the Convict Lake Tragedy from MonoCounty.gov, the Sheriffs' page
- February 11, 2015 (Ab note: this is a wonderful remembrance! An excerpt regarding awards made in 1990:
On May 15th, 1990, the Mono County Board of Supervisors awarded Clay Cutter, Vidar Anderson and two other surviving first responders with the Medal of Valor to recognize and pay tribute to these brave men for their sacrifice and courage. In December of 1990, Clay Cutter also received the Carnegie Hero Fund – Hero Award for risking his life to save or attempt to save the lives of others.
Memorials near Convict Lake to those who gave so much:
Contributors to this article: John Miller, Rene Vanderhooft
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