Teens nearly drown kayaking on San Joaquin River

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Two more people nearly drown in a Valley river Saturday. Teenaged siblings were kayaking along the San Joaquin just south of the Friant Dam when their canoe flipped over, sending the teens into the frigid water.

Both had life jackets on, thankfully. The teen girl was able to swim to the river bank and get out of the water, but her brother had more trouble. "The male juvenile was able to swim to some brush and eventually climbed up in a tree," Sgt. Kevin Smith said.

Eventually, rescuers were able to get to the boy and bring him back to be reunited with his family. The Sheriff's Office says the boy picked the prefect tree to cling to.

"We actually have trained in the exact tree that the kayaker ended up being stuck in. it looked like a potential spot to get stuck in when they flip out of their canoe," Brian Herman

Further down the river, in the Lost Lake Recreation Area, picnic table and even part of the parking lot are under water.

"It's really really cold. You can really tell the difference between a couple of months ago and now. It's really icy," Erica Arcia said. She was there so her kids could go fishing and splash in the water. But Erica said she chose her spot carefully. "We got a spot where we're not right close to the water, even though the water's a lot higher, we're right here by an area that's not moving."

The Sheriff's Office says everyone needs to be extra cautious because even seemingly calm water has the potential to be life-threatening. "A lot of these places, putting your feet in, getting wet, you're literally a foot away from being swept downstream. You can't really seem some of the obstructions or how fast the current is going."

The Sheriff's Office says the water in these rivers is about 50 degrees.

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san joaquin river, friant, safety, local, rick montanez
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