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Local man dies after jumping from bluff into Lake Buchanan

The area of Lake Buchanan where Joshua Reid died is straddled by 20- to 30-foot bluffs and known for its idyllic views and quaint waterfalls. Staff photo by Jared Fields

The area of Lake Buchanan where Joshua Reid died is straddled by 20- to 30-foot bluffs and known for its idyllic views and quaint waterfalls. Staff photo by Jared Fields


LLANO COUNTY — A man’s death after jumping from a bluff into Lake Buchanan has prompted a cautionary note by water safety officials as people descend on the Highland Lakes this Fourth of July weekend.

The incident happened at about 3:45 p.m. June 25 on the upper end of Lake Buchanan near the confluence of Fall Creek and the Colorado River.

Joshua Reid, 39, of Burnet County was on an outing with friends when it occurred.

“He was swimming there and climbed up on the bluff or an elevated rock, jumped off, hit the water, may have surfaced for just a second, then went down,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Cody Hatfield. “His friends were not able to get to him. They called 9-1-1, who responded within minutes.”

The Buchanan Dam Volunteer Fire Department dive team recovered Reid’s body about two hours later in about 10-12 feet of water in the area where he went under.

A Llano County official has ordered an autopsy to determine the specific cause of death.

The area of the lake where the incident occurred is straddled by 20- to 30-foot bluffs and known for its idyllic views and quaint waterfalls.

“People jump off rocks, bluffs all the time,” Hatfield said. “That’s in an area of the river where there’s lots of debris. … It can fill up with gravel, logs.”

The dangers of jumping into waterways from heights of 20 feet or higher include:

  • hazardous landing conditions caused by the changing landscape of a waterway’s floor;
  • stress and damage to the body such as compression of the spine, broken bones, or a concussion when landing in the water;
  • inexperience in the proper jumping technique, leading to potential body trauma (mastering the “pencil” entry with arms held tightly to one’s side, feet pressed together and pointed downward reduces some risk);
  • and challenging shoreline surfaces that threaten safe footing when exiting the water.

“Not saying he hit anything (after he jumped in), but … that’s always the danger when you jump from an elevated position — head first, feet first,” Hatfield said. “That’s part of the risk if you can’t see under the water.”

19 thoughts on “Local man dies after jumping from bluff into Lake Buchanan

  1. Kathy, Teri, Andy –

    Elizabeth couldn’t have said it better. Josh was my first love as well. He was the most genuine and sincere person I have known. I am devastated – to no measure of course. What I feel the most despite this tragedy is Josh’s energy, and its a beautiful feeling, all encompassing comfort and love. That still remains…will always..

    1. Cara, this is Kathy, Josh’s other mom. Do you have any pictures of him, him with family or friends? We are looking for as many as we can get. If you have some, can you share them with me on Facebook or by email? Please let me know.

  2. I did not know Joshua but My heart goes out to family and loved ones. I’m currently unable to walk and Iam lucky to have survived a cliff jump gone wrong in Temecula. Nothing I’ve suffered from my jump compares too Joshua’s happening. ive been told “that’s what you get for doing things like that.” And it breaks my heart to be spoken to like that. I love humanity and always want the best outcome from whatever the situation. Blessings.

  3. Hi, Kathy, I just learned of Josh’s death today. I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you, your family, as well as Ali and his girls. Josh was an amazing person. I met him 7 years ago, and he was the most skilled electrician I’ve ever met. He came out often over the years, and talked about his family often and fondly. I hope that your sadness, in time, will fade and be replaced by those most cherished moments with him.

  4. My thoughts and Prayers are with you and your family., so very sorry for your loss. May God Bless you all??❤️

  5. Mustang – I hope nobody is such an (censored) when God calls you home.

    My sympathy to his family in your tragic loss.

  6. I dated Josh in highschool for a few years.. I have a piece of his jewelry, a few pictures and an old Florida highschool football Jersey if any of his family world like to have the items.. Josh was always kind and good hearted.. Such a big smile.. My thoughts are with his family at this horrible time

    1. Elizabeth, thank you reaching out to us. No we do not want those items. You should keep them to remember him in happy times.

      His moms

      1. This has really been weighing heavy on my mind.. Like I said we dated many years exclusively… Prom together, grew up together in many ways, of coarse drifting apart but more than anything Josh taught me a lot about trust and how a woman should be treated by a man… He was always so respectful, even as young stupid kids doing kid things josh was loyal, fun, caring, a great person.. He had such a good ear, he cared about peoples feelings, he loved whole heartidly… Loved his momma, his grandma, his family… He was a beautiful soul, I never contacted him over the years, we had both moved on in life, had families of our own, grew up… But you never forget your first love, and he was mine! I’ll never forget him… Josh made me realize that I could do anything even if I didn’t come from the best place… I spent 3 years as his girlfriend, but what I cherish most was just getting to be his friend.. If you change your mind about photos, please feel free to email me..
        I’ll always love him.. Always remember that smile and what a gentleman he always was.

  7. Hi Kathy. My heart goes out to you, Ali, and his two beautiful little girls. Please know that you are all covered in prayer.

  8. Mustang don’t be an ass please… Kathy Reid as a parent we are never prepared for what your going through. My heart aches for you and your families loss. Sending prayers your way.

  9. Sounds to me like he shouldn’t have dove off those rocks.

    1. Mustang… that was my older brother you should really try and be respectful. Its really hard having lost one of the biggest role models in your life comments like that are not needed..

  10. This is our son Joshua. While we don’t know what occurred, we would like to encourage anyone considering to jump or dive off these cliffs to reconsider. Joshua was an excellent swimmer and diver. Something went wrong. It could happen to anyone. Please, please think of your families before you try something this dangerous. You can’t take it back. This has changed our lives forever.

    1. So very, very sorry. My heart aches for you and your family.

    2. Kathy, I’m soooo very sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my prayers.

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