Divers search for missing swimmer in the San Joaquin River

Monday, April 23, 2012

After several hours of searching for a missing swimmer, the last divers pulled out of the San Joaquin River around 10 p.m. Sunday night. The search was resumed early Monday morning.

Monday morning, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department announced they will be taking over the search for 20-year-old Nick Gilbert.

Emergency crews and dive teams were called to the area of Bluff and Santa Fe on Sunday, after a swimmer went into the water under the nearby trestle and never resurfaced.

Dive teams from several agencies including the Fresno Fire Department and American Ambulance took to the water immediately, while a helicopter searched for any signs of the swimmer from above.

The Fresno Sheriff's Office says the victim is 20-year-old Nick Gilbert from Fresno who was with family members at the time of the incident. In all, dozens of personnel from Fresno and Madera counties participated in the search -- but as hours passed, the search transitioned to a recovery mission.

"It's a very tragic incident to say the least. We're working diligently. We have some of the best capabilities in the entire state here working for these agencies. If we can't find him, no one can," said Chuck Tobias with the Fresno Fire Department.

Emergency workers say the water in the San Joaquin is swift and cold -- and swimming in the area is extremely dangerous. The fire and sheriff's departments called off the search Sunday due to safety concerns. The search resumed Monday morning under the direction of the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.

They say there is a slight possibility the swimmer was able to make his way out of the water on his own.


Stay with Action News and ABC30.com for more on this developing story.

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