Park seeks ROV for deep-water search in Lake Crescent

PORT ANGELES — Olympic National Park rangers are still searching Lake Crescent by boat daily for the body of a 35-year-old Federal Way woman who went missing on Memorial Day, last seen with her white unicorn inflatable raft.

Park personnel are hoping to find and deploy a submersible remote operating vehicle (ROV) that could explore more deeply the lake’s depths, park spokeswoman Penny Wagner said Friday.

Wagner said it is “very likely” that Lena Lse Lang drowned, adding that there is no indication that she left Lake Crescent on her own.

Wagner said dive teams stopped searching for Lang two days after Memorial Day, on May 29.

“At that point, it became clear that we needed sonar equipment that can go deeper than the dive teams can,” Wagner said.

The lake is 690 feet at its maximum depth and 300-500 feet down where Lang was last seen, she said.

Wagner said rangers continue to patrol the lake daily.

She and acting park Superintendent Lee Taylor said officials hope to use an ROV from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, home of the 560-foot-deep Lake Powell reservoir, located on the border between Utah and Arizona.

“We’re in conversation with Glen Canyon to figure out the timing for when they can send people and equipment this way to assist us,” Taylor said Friday.

Wagner said Olympic National Park also might arrange with a private contractor to deploy an ROV.

“With sonar, that will enable us into where we need to go, given the depths,” Wagner said.

“At the very least, we need sonar equipment that can go deeper than the dive teams can.”

The equipment would not be lined up this weekend, she added.

According to the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch, Lang was seen in the water west of Barnes Point at about 5:35 p.m. Memorial Day.

She was wearing a two-piece black bathing suit and had a floating raft shaped like a unicorn.

Lang was reported missing at 5:45 p.m. Memorial Day.

“Winds began pushing Lena towards Barnes Point out of view of others in the water,” according to a press release.

“Her overturned raft was last seen on the west side of Barnes Point.”

Park rangers said a woman was seen carrying a deflated unicorn raft out of the woods around the time that Lang was last seen.

The woman drove away in a dark colored SUV between 5:20 p.m. and 6 p.m. from a lakeside pull-out near Mile Marker 226.

The woman is not Lena Lang, park officials said.

Park rangers immediately searched the lake by boat.

With help from the U.S. Navy, they conducted an aerial search, worked into the night, and started up again at 6 a.m. May 28.

The Park Service enlisted the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 28 to continue aerial observations.

Anyone who visited the shores of Lake Crescent from Barnes Point to Fairholm on May 27 between noon and 6 p.m. and saw anyone using a white unicorn personal inflatable raft is asked to call or text Olympic National Park on the investigative tip line, 888-653-0009.

“You don’t have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know,” park officials urged in a press release.

“Information from other visitors and boaters is often extremely valuable during searches.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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