Local

Helicopter plucks two teens from the San Joaquin River

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The rescue was just the latest in a busy summer season on the river for Fresno County Sheriff's deputies. And because the two teens were stuck right smack dab in the middle of the river air support was called in to get them out.

A Fresno Sheriff's helicopter lifts a male teenager to safety after he had been stuck in the San Joaquin River for almost an hour. The water was so swift, it ripped the teen's bathing suit off. Witnesses living at a nearby mobile home park described the rescue.

"He took, sat down then went up dropped his cable down and pulled the two boys out. And there was two teenage boys they pulled out of the water." said Darrel Oblander.

Deputies interviewed the two soaking wet teenagers who explained to them how they got caught up in this mess. Investigators say they started floating at a trailer park upstream before getting tangled in some branches. Their raft overturned and they didn't have any life vests.

Darrel Oblander watched the helicopter pluck the teens out of the weeds. He says this isn't the first time someone's gotten in some trouble in the river, despite the decreasing water levels.

"They're warned not to get into the water when it's swift and right now it's low but they still get in the water. We've seen people with children on rafts get out there in that water." added Oblander.

And local law enforcement officials agree. Even though floating is currently being allowed in the river, deputies urge extreme caution.

"Water's unpredictable. There's a lot of obstacles in the water. Underneath the water that causes a lot of problems for people when they're trying to swim. There's a lot of currents that you can't see. And there's a lot of force behind the water." said Sgt. Kevin Lokus.

This isn't the first rescue in this area. Rescue crews saved four floaters at the same place three weeks ago. Deputies say those floaters had no life vests either.

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