Amarillo teen drowns at Greenbelt Lake during family outing

An Amarillo teenager, who was out on a family outing, drowned at Greenbelt Lake Sunday evening.

The 14-year-old boy was identified as Samairon "Sam" Inthavongsy.

According to the Donley County Sheriff's Department, the teenager jumped into the water but did not know how to swim.

"We were notified by family members that he (Sam) did not know how to swim," said Donley County Sheriff Butch Blackburn. "He got in the water shortly after the whole family had arrived at the lake and he just got in too deep and went under."

Emergency officials, including a dive team, responded just after 6:00 p.m., to an area north of Sandy Beach called the "Bluffs", the site of the drowning. Blackburn said the depth of the water there starts at about knee-high and drops suddenly to about 11 feet.

"You just can't see where you're at," said Blackburn."With what the terrain is like underneath it. For safety, you just need to wear a life vest if you're in a lake and not an avid swimmer."

The teenager's body was recovered within an hour about 40 feet from the shore and about 11 feet deep, authorities said. He was pronounced dead on scene.

Sam, according to the Amarillo Independent School District,was not listed as a student within the district immediately before his death. He had previously been an 8th grade student at Bowie Middle School, the district said.

"The Trauma Team was sent to Bowie Middle School to work with the students who knew the victim, even though he was no longer a student in the Amarillo Independent School District," district spokesperson said.

An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Monday morning. Blackburn said because of the circumstances and number of witnesses, he doesn't suspect anything but an "accidental drowning."

Greenbelt Lake has been the unfortunate home for a number of drownings over the past years.

"Unfortunately Greenbelt (Lake) has claimed lots of lives over the years," said Blackburn. "Judging distance on water is just really impossible."

"It's just a terrible accident and you feel for the families that are going through it."