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Rescue team pulls 4 people from Lost Lake in Fresno County

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Snowmelt from the Friant Dam is pouring into the San Joaquin River at Lost Lake Park.

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While many think it's a good idea to float down stream and cool off, officials say it's actually a bad idea because of the strong current and frigid water temperatures.

In this case the floaters had no life jackets or paddles. Two young adults needed medical attention and two others were shaken up after being stranded at Lost Lake for almost an hour Tuesday evening.

Sheriff's deputies say their grey raft capsized while they floated down the river and the group ended up holding on for dear life after getting tangled in some tree branches.

Anthony Carillo heard some screaming nearby and jumped in to try and help.

"I told them hey you know calm down. Calm down. Everything will be ok. The string that we had, it was impossible to try and throw to them to try and help these people and I knew you know if the law enforcement didn't get here in time them people were going to be dead." said Carillo.

Deputies called in air support to help determine the best evacuation plan. Divers went upstream and rescued two people at a time but the raft stayed stuck in the river.

Amazingly just 15 minutes after the rescue, two teens ignored what had just happened and went into the river and retrieved the raft. Deputies quickly confiscated the inflatable boat.

Deputies say people need to understand the potentially life threatening dangers especially when water is overflowing into areas normally used by picnickers.

"You should stay out of the river. I know a lot of times we say if you can't swim stay out of the river. Now we're saying stay out of the river." said Curtice.

Kong Thao knows this area well. He goes fishing here twice a week. Thao brought his family here to beat the heat. He knows to stay in the shallow end and pack life jackets for the kids.

"My thing is safety first you know. Doesn't matter how deep or how shallow the water is. Safety always comes into play." said Thao.

Back to the good Samaritan that tried to help out the stranded rafters. The sheriff's office says that's actually a bad idea saying instead to call 911 and leave the rescuing to the experts.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
fresno county, san joaquin river, local, tommy tran
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