Christina Esparza, 46, Drowns At Dale Hollow Lake

Monday, May 1, 2017
Wildlife Officer Dustin Buttram and Captain George Birdwell utilize the remote operated vehicle during the search
Wildlife Officer Dustin Buttram and Captain George Birdwell utilize the remote operated vehicle during the search

Recovery efforts are still underway on Dale Hollow Lake for the body of a 46-year-old Red Boiling Springs woman. Christina Esparza and her 17-year-old son left the Cedar Hill boat ramp paddling inflatable kayaks on Sunday, before noon. With winds gusting at approximately 15-25 mph, waters were choppy and dock workers said the woman struggled to keep up with her son on the rough waters. 


The son was maneuvering his kayak to return to his mother when he noticed her kayak had flipped and she was nowhere to be seen.

Both kayakers were at least 100 yards from shore in water depths that varied between 60 to 120 feet. The deceased and her son were not wearing personal flotation devices (PFD), but they did have the PFDs in their boats. Dock workers called 911 and TWRA received the report of a missing kayaker around noon.


Clay County and Overton County rescue, TWRA officers, Clay County Emergency Management Agency and the Clay County sheriff’s office arrived on the scene and searched for Ms. Esparza utilizing a remote operated vehicle until storms and rough waters caused them to discontinue. Unsafe conditions continued into the night and the search was called off around 9 p.m.


Recovery efforts resumed Monday morning. Ms. Esparza’s son was cared for by Child Protective Services until family arrived from out of state. 


TWRA urges boaters to wear personal floatation devices. Personal floatation devices are the number one way boaters can protect themselves. To find more on boating in Tennessee visit:

Dale Hollow Lake sign shows the importance of wearing a personal floatation device
Dale Hollow Lake sign shows the importance of wearing a personal floatation device

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