Siblings, 8 and 4, Found Dead a Day Apart After Falling into River and Getting Swept Away from Mom
A brother and sister were “swept downstream” while venturing out to “a specific rock to climb on," according to authorities in California
Authorities in California say a brother and sister died after they were swept down a raging river that was closed to the public at the time.
The 4-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl were with their mom and her adult friend Sunday afternoon when they entered Kings River about a mile down from Pine Flat Dam, according to a press release from the Fresno County Sheriff's Office (FCSO). At the time, the group was venturing out to “a specific rock to climb on," per the sheriff’s office.
Shortly before 2:00 p.m. local time, they "fell into" the water and were “swept downstream,” per the sheriff’s office. "The current carried the kids away," authorities wrote.
The girl was found dead in the river less than an hour later, the FCSO said. On Monday morning, the boy’s body was spotted “beneath the water caught against a tree” nearly 2 miles away from where his sister was found.
Neither child was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.
Related:Body of Missing 7-Year-Old Boy Found 2 Weeks After He Disappeared While Fishing with Family
FCSO Search and Rescue Sergeant Matthew Hamilton said the family ran into trouble shortly after they arrived at the river, according to ABC affiliate KFSN-TV.
Water temperatures in the “swift” Kings River were “in the low 50s,” the FCSO said in Monday’s press release.
“Hopefully this is a lesson and people really take warning and really take this seriously that it's not a joke,” said Hamilton, according to KFSN-TV and FOX affiliate KMPH. “We can't have people recreating around the water because of how dangerous it is.”
The Kings and San Joaquin Rivers have been closed to recreational users since March 14, the FCSO said. Sheriff John Zanoni said “heavy winter storms and melting snow” have led to “high water levels and hazardous conditions.”
Waterway conditions are expected to “become more dangerous” leading up to summertime as snow continues to melt “and dams release even more water into the rivers,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Those who enter the rivers while they are closed “for emergency purposes” face a minimum fine of $225. It is unclear when conditions will improve enough for the waterways to safely reopen.
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FCSO Lieutenant Brandon Pursell said adults who allow the children in the water while they are supervising the youngsters can face child endangerment and child neglect charges, according to KMPH.
“This is a dangerous situation [that] you are putting you and your family in jeopardy when you get near the water,” Pursell added.
Hamilton said first responders saw people attempting to “recreate around the water” while they were searching for the children, and had to “chase them back out,” according to KMPH.
“This water does not care who you are, it does not care how good of a swimmer you think you are," Pursell told the outlet. “If you get stuck in this current, it is going to take you.”
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