Locals Want Changes After Glee Vet Naya Rivera's Presumed Drowning Spotlights Dangerous Waters

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In the days after Glee and Step Up: High Water star Naya Rivera first went missing within California's Lake Piru, locals have taken the opportunity to get vocal about long-standing issues over what they deem to be a lack of protective elements for swimmers. As the search for Rivera continues, hopeful messages are pouring in from the actress' friends and fans, and residents have started a petition to bring changes to the hazard-filled lake.

Currently, a petition started on Change.org titled "Lake Piru Warning Signs" has been signed by over 19,000 people, and that total is relatively quickly rising to reach the initial 25,000-signatures goal. The explanation for the petition points out the fact that Naya Rivera is only the latest person to fall victim to the manmade lake's various dangers, and that changes need to be made to give tourists a better idea of what the risks are.

You can read the full text from the aforementioned Lake Piru petition below.

Naya Rivera is not the first, nor the last to go missing at Lake Piru. Lake Piru is a very deep lake with very bad whirlpools, people have been asking for years for the city to put up warning signs for swimmers. Locals of Ventura County don’t go to Lake Piru for this reason! Tourist have no idea what they’re getting into. Lake Piru needs signs. We’re tired of waiting. We need justice for all those who got lost at Lake Piru. Put up the signs.

While it is obviously impossible to know at this point whether better signage and warnings would have had any direct impact on Naya Rivera's situation, it's clear that those living in the area believe it would make a big difference overall. To be sure, some areas around the lake do have signs on the shoreline that mark less dangerous areas for swimming. However, those markings aren't necessarily visible to those who go out in boats, and those are often the people most at risk, given the lake's cold temperatures and rip tides.

There's also another petition now being circulated that offers more details about each of the drowning victims that perished in the lake between 1994 and 2008. At this point, Naya Rivera's case is being handled as a recovery mission as opposed to a rescue, which would make the actress the ninth person to drown in the lake since 1994.

For those who aren't aware of the initial situation, the 33-year-old Glee vet Naya Rivera and her four-year-old son Josey Dorsey went out onto Lake Piru by a rented boat on Wednesday, July 8. Three hours later, another boater discovered Josey alone on the boat, asleep in his life jacket. Rivera was nowhere to be seen, though her identification was also found on the boat, as well as an adult life jacket. Josey reportedly told the police at the time that Rivera was swimming and was not able to return to the boat.

Local authorities and dive teams started searching that day, but when Naya Rivera failed to turn up by Thursday, July 9, the actress was then presumed dead. Given the time it takes for bodies to usually rise to the surface in cases like this, it's possible that it will still be a while longer before those on site will be able to confirm Rivera's fate.

We at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and hopes to the family and friends of Naya Rivera during this extremely difficult time.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.