Video shows moments as helicopter crew rescues stranded women from San Joaquin River


A high-flying rescue, and a woman dangling in the sky below Fresno Sheriff’s EAGLE One helicopter.

Crews lifting two women, trapped, up out of the middle of the San Joaquin River, Saturday night.

“The current swept them down-river, and they ended up getting caught in the trees,” Fresno Sheriff Sgt. Scott Weishaar said.

Officials say the women, sisters, 32 and 30-years-old, had been floating downstream in rafts, when one of the rafts, popped.

Video of the moments after, captured by CHP Helicopter, H-40.

“The water is moving very swift, it’s cold and fast, and it’s easy to have issues,” Weishaar said.

EAGLE One’s crew responding first, lowering a cinch collar. 

“They were able to pull the victims out using that.” 

Setting the women down on the riverbanks below. 

However, this won’t be the only rescue this year.

Sheriff’s officials say, the Boating Enforcement Unit can make 200 to 300 water rescues each summer; Search and Rescue can make several dozen.

Waterways already higher than years past.

“We expect to be a little busier because of that,” Weishaar said.

Monday, deputies getting right in the middle of it. Fresno Sheriff’s Boating Unit, Search and Rescue team and dive team, training in a raft.

“We had a deputy simulating being caught up in various positions, and just practicing pulling him out,” Weishaar said. 

Issuing their same yearly warning about the glassy surface, and the potential for danger, underneath.

Obstacles like strainers, rocks or trees which water can flow through, but a person, could get trapped in.

“It’s cold, it may not look like it’s moving very fast, but it’s a lot more powerful than it looks,” Weishaar said.

Officials say based on the waterways right now, they would not recommend floating any rivers; always emphasizing life jackets.

Officials say, neither of the women who were rescued were injured.

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