When YWN broke the sad news of the recovery of the missing body of Naftoli Smolyansky ZL, we had reported that a Segula was performed on a boat on the lake, which subsequently led to the finding of the body. Many rumors have been spread, some claiming that no Segula was ever done, while others are disregarding the entire story.
The following is THE story - as told by a person who wishes to remain anonymous, and who was intensely involved in every aspect of the search & rescue mission, and knows all the details and facts first-hand.
On Monday morning at approximately 5:30AM, a group of Rabbonim (both Ashkenazim and Persian) departed the command post on a boat. Once out on the Lake, they put a flat bread which was baked specifically for this Segula on the water with a candle on it. As soon as the bread stopped moving, they threw a stone wrapped with some writing on it into the exact spot that the bread stopped. When the flat bread stayed in place for a little bit, Lake Piru Ranger Kurt White placed a buoy on that spot and contacted Captain Giles of the Ventura County Sheriffs Department Dive Team. Captain Giles and a volunteer diver arrived approximately 11:00AM to dive on that spot. In the meantime the Ashkenaz Rabbonim left the area, while the Persian Rabbonim Davened Shacharis.
At approximately 11:30AM, as Captain Giles and his dive partner were about to take the first dive of the day, the body surfaced approximately 150 yards SOUTH of the area that the buoy was placed. Captain Giles and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary spotted it at the same time. They immediately contacted the Hatzolah Command Post, and had one of the Hatzolah Coordinators come to the Ranger Station.
Rabbi Goldenberg of Yeshiva Toras Emes, who is the liaison with the Coroners Office was immediately contacted. He gave Hatzolah specific instructions on how to treat the Niftar. The Hatzolah Coordinator then proceeded to the Sheriffs Dock area along with a family member and Ranger Clayton Straham to await transport onto the lake and identify the body.
At precisely the same time, the Hatzolah Command Post issued directives to all searchers on the lake to head back in and await further instructions. At the request of Rabbi Gradon, no one was told anything until after the body was identified. At approximately 1:00PM a positive identification was made, and the Hatzolah Coordinator radioed the Command Post that the Rabbonim can let the Almono know.
The person who spoke to YWN added: The search mission has been a tremendous job that was done by a most incredible community. There is no one person that deserves recognition. We as a community are just happy that the family can now start the healing process, as well as the rest of us.
How sad, and I’m very glad they found his body. A friend of my family died in a boating accident in the Atlantic Ocean a few years ago, and it was four months before they found his remains.
I wish people who can’t swim would wear life jackets in boats. It’s dreadfully, even unethically, foolish not to.
I do believe in miracles, but practical reasons for certain results should always be examined first.
About three years ago in the mountain rivers up here a father dove in to save his daughter who apparently was under some kind of waterfall and couldn’t surface. They both drowned. And someone who knew the family said that they thought lifejackets were ‘dorky’.
A big lake or reservoir is a fiendishly difficult place to find a body. In northern climes the lakes deep water can be cold enough so that no decomposition occurs -- a body sinks and never rises. Lakes behind dams have old forests under them and a body can be trapped, many lakes have sinkholes (underground flows) that if a body disappears into them -- it's gone forever.
I am thankful they were at least able to recover the body.
What a beautiful answer to prayer.Sorry about the loss of your friend,(((Hugs))) Fatima