FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno Unified School District leaders and family and friends of Neng Thao, an 18-year-old who died by drowning in 2017, gathered on Friday to celebrate the signing of bill AB 1445, the Neng Thao Drowning Prevention Bill.
Thao drowned and was found in the San Joaquin River. He was submerged in 10 feet of water after being swept away by the fast current of the river, First Responders said.
Thao drowned two weeks before his graduation and was set to go to U.C. Berkely.
Bill AB 1445, the Neng Thao Drowning Prevention Bill, was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 7th. The bill is meant to create a way to connect elementary students, their parents, and caregivers with water safety knowledge.
Starting in 2024-2025, the Drowning Prevention Bill will authorize specified organizations to provide informational materials to elementary schools on water safety and how to access affordable swim lessons locally.
Assemblyman Dr. Joaquin Arambula of Fresno authored the bill and said he is grateful that Governor Newsom was able to sign the bill and said that Thao was a young man who had a promising future ahead of him.
“It is the hope of Neng’s family that this legislation will connect parents and children with information about low- or no-cost swimming skills programs to help prevent other families from experiencing such tragedies,” said Arambula.