Shelton Moore, 05-18-02

Man dies after jump into lake
TOO COLD Shelton Moore panicked after hitting 38-degree water in Taku Lake.

By Zaz Hollander
Anchorage Daily News (Published: May 19, 2002)

Emergency crews transport Moore from the lake to an ambulance. The lake is at Taku-Campbell Park. (Photo by Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News )

A 25-year-old Anchorage man drowned Saturday after jumping into the chilly water of Taku Lake.

Shelton Moore and friends were enjoying warm weather at the lake when Moore ran off a dock and did a cannonball, police said. Moore, described by police and friends as a weak swimmer, panicked when he hit the water, a friend said.

Firefighters later measured the water at 38 degrees.

Longtime friend Jerome Walker and Moore's fiancee jumped into the water to help but couldn't, said Keith Walker, Jerome's brother. Jerome Walker suffers from asthma and was overwhelmed by Moore's struggles.

"He kept kicking and yelling. They just had to let him go," Keith Walker said.

Moore was transported to Alaska Native Medical Center around 4 p.m. in critical condition.

Emergency crews started CPR as soon as they pulled him from the water, said Anchorage police Sgt. Darrel Redick. Moore's heart started and stopped several times as emergency room staff members worked on him, Redick said.

"He had a strong heart. He kept coming back, then they would lose him," he said.

The lake is at Taku-Campbell Park just off 76th Avenue and King Street.

Fire dispatchers got a report of the drowning at 3:09 p.m. After Walker and Moore's fiancee left the water, two men on the beach went in but couldn't retrieve him. Anchorage Fire Department rescue diver Joel Wagner found Moore at 3:36 p.m., within a minute of entering the water, said Deputy Chief Bridget Bushue.

Divers found Moore in about 15 feet of water, said Battalion Chief John Huxley. The lake, an old gravel pit, is as deep as 30 feet.

Authorities warn that all area lakes are extremely cold and unsafe this time of year.

Taku Lake is marked with "no swimming" signs along with signs that warn of thin ice.

The lake only recently became ice-free, Redick said.

"The weather's beautiful, it's hot, it's just real deceptive," he said. "Even accomplished swimmers, when they hit that cold water, your body has a tendency to go into shock."

Reporter Zaz Hollander can be reached at or 907 257-4591.