Man drowns in San Joaquin River after getting caught in current

Body recovered from San Joaquin River

An 18-year-old man was with family when he was playing in the water of the San Joaquin River Sunday afternoon. The Fresno Fire Department said he went too far in the water, causing him to get caught in the current and being swept under.

Fresno Fire responded to the incident around 4:30 p.m. creating a staging area for crews at the river access point at Palm and Nees Avenues. A rescue crew was launched into the water, along with battalion chiefs sent out over the air in helicopters.

Todd Tuggle, deputy chief with Fresno Fire, said rescue crews got help from a fisherman who happened to be in the area. The fisherman helped them figure out possible spots to find the missing man.

"[The fisherman] had very intimate knowkledge of the river and was able to identify some very likely locations where we would find somebody that had gone underneath the surface of the water," said Tuggle.

The man's body was recovered after being submerged around 18 feet in the water. He was brought to an ambulance around 6:15 p.m. and was pronounced dead 15 minutes later.

Tuggle said the water can appear calm and even inviting to escape the heat – but it doesn't eliminate its dangers. Our abnormally high snowpack is expected to keep our waterways filled through the rest of the summer.

He advises, "Keep a close eye on children. If you are not a competent swimmer, I strongly suggest staying away from anything more than waist-deep water."

It's also best to stay away from drinking alcoholic beverages when you're around the water. In the heat, it's easier to get tired, and it only gets worse when you get alcohol in the mix.


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