FRESNO COUNTY, California (KGPE) – A man in his 60s is dead after rescuers say he drowned while trying to rescue a child who was swept away by the Kings River Tuesday.
Cal Fire says he was one of five people pulled from a Fresno County section of the river, including at least two children. All were trying to help.
The incident happened near Winton Park. Rescuers say their response was delayed because there was no cell service in the park – forcing witnesses to drive to the nearest fire station to get help.
First responders searched by boat and helicopter and found the man about half a mile downstream. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. They believe he was fishing and tried to rescue a little girl who got swept under.
“In this location, there’s not a way to call 911,” said Cal Fire Batallion Chief Ryan Michaels. “The cellphones don’t work and a lot of people have become complacent to that and thinking it’s going to be easy to call for help and in this instance, it was delayed before firefighters were able to reach them for help.”
The other four people who went under were treated at the scene and are recovering.
The victim was identified Wednesday as Arthur Caballero, 62, of Fresno, by the Fresno County Coroner.
Note: The child was first described as being a little boy, but officials now say it child was a girl.