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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
Position: firefighters


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.

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Convict Lake, Mono County, California near Bishop

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

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Media Articles and Reports

  • 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, 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.

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

Memorials near Convict Lake to those who gave so much:

Memorial Memorial
Clayton Cutter Memorial Clayton Cutter Memorial
Vidar Anderson Memorial Vidar Anderson Memorial



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Contributors to this article: John Miller, Rene Vanderhooft


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