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Lake Piru has been the site of numerous drownings over the years due to chilly temperatures that can overwhelm swimmers — as well as strong winds that are powerful enough to tip over a small boat.

The lake where Glee actress Naya Rivera went missing is notorious for deadly rip currents, chilly water and sudden huge waves.

The cool temperatures, large waves and rip currents can all work in concert to rob even the strongest swimmer of energy.

Park officials already speculated in the past that wind gusts and deep columns of chilly water on the lake, which is up to 160 ft deep depending on the time of year, can overtake swimmers quickly.

A number of fatalities related to drownings have occurred at Lake Piru:

  • Jesus Danilo Carranza from North Hollywood drowned while on an outing with his family despite wearing a life jacket.
  • Liborio Dominguez from Long Beach drowned while trying to rescue his daughter and Dominguez's body was not discovered until several days later.
  • Isidro Castillo from Newhall encountered problems while swimming and called for his girlfriend to throw him a buoy. The woman was unable to get the flotation device to him. His body was found a day later.
  • Rescue workers recovered the body of 30-year-old Port Hueneme resident Ulises Anthony Mendoza, who was last seen struggling days earlier while swimming with family members near their boat.
  • The body of Lake Piru employee Arthur Raymond Caladara was found drowned near the dock.
  • Vy Xuan Dang from Garden Grove, who disappeared while swimming with his family during the Memorial Day weekend, was found by a park ranger.
  • Van Nuys resident Edie Cruz, swam the short distance to his stalled radio-controlled model boat, and drowned only 10 feet from shore.
  • Naftoli Smolyanksy died in a boating accident in August 2008. Smolyanksy was unable to swim to the boat and did not resurface.
  • Roberto Barrios had been swimming  when the wind started pushing the pontoon boat away from him and two friends, he disappeared under water. A few days later Ventura County Sheriff's dive team found Barrios at the bottom of the lake.

The most recent case on July 8, 2020, Naya Rivera disappeared while swimming with her son. As of July 9, the Ventura County Sherrif’s Department confirmed that the search has been shifted from an active search to a recovery mission and Rivera is presumed dead.

UPDATE: July 8, 2020, actress Naya Rivera disappeared while swimming with her son. A search of the lake began after Rivera’s rented pontoon boat was discovered with her son asleep inside, along with her identification and purse.

Naya Rivera’s body was found on July 13.

Lake Piru is NOT SAFE.

The Lake does not have any warning signs even though it is extremely dangerous and locals of Ventura County keep asking for it. Swimming should not be permitted in this lake. The people swimming don’t know what they’re getting into.  

The safest way is to close the lake down so no more tragedies will happen ever again.