18-year-old is third person to drown at Lake Berryessa in 2 weeks

An 18-year-old drowned at California’s Lake Berryessa in Napa County on Sunday, marking the third drowning in two weeks, officials said.

Zaire Watu Fairley of Vallejo was at the reservoir with three friends and they told the Napa County Sheriff’s Office that Fairley was standing on a log and slipped into the water at about 1:35 pm, a news release said.

An off-duty police officer was on the lake in a boat and dove into the water to save Fairley, the sheriff’s office said. The officer found Fairley underwater and pulled him to shore where off-duty nurses reportedly performed CPR.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter airlifted Fairley to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa where he died at 3:19 pm, the sheriff’s office said.


A San Pablo man drowned on July 3 while saving his son in the water at the reservoir, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. Marciallo Perez, 35, was unable to swim back from the shore after helping his son, who survived.

Five days before on June 27, Demetrio Perriatt, 16, drowned at the lake while retrieving his raft.

Since 2020, there have been 11 drownings at Lake Berryessa, the sheriff’s office said. Seven of those 10 drownings occurred at Oak Shores Day Use Area.

“If you are getting in or near the water, please wear a life jacket,” the sheriff’s office said. “Life jackets save lives.”

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