Location: Kings River
Incident Date: 5/31/17
Incident Time: 5:26 p.m.
Case Number: 17-06542
Posted by: Dispatch
On 5/31/2017 at approximately 1726 hours, The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office received a call for three juveniles, ages 15-16, who were heard screaming for help in the dangerous currents of the Kings River. The juveniles were reported to not be wearing life jackets and were in distress. They were not on a raft or any other flotation device. The juveniles were last seen in the river near the Kings River Country Club.
The first units arrived on scene within 12 minutes and began search and rescue operations with the assistance of the Tulare County Fire Department and California Highway Patrol Helicopter H40. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office deployed their Swiftwater Dive Rescue Team and two rescue boats. At approximately 1804 hours, rescuers were able to hear the screams of the juveniles approximately a half mile downstream near the northeastern shore.
They were brought to safety at approximately 1815 hours by Sheriff's Swiftwater Rescue Technicians.
The Kings River has been closed by Tulare County Sheriff Boudreaux all season due to above average annual snow melt that has created very dangerous conditions including extremely cold water and swift, very deceiving currents. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 8 fatal drownings and more than 24 swiftwater rescues in Tulare County’s rivers since April 14.
Please do not approach the river’s edge or enter white water under any circumstances. The current conditions in many of our waterways are not survivable despite safety equipment, training or experience in white water. Inner tubes or other small flotation devices are inadequate and extremely dangerous as they are easily overturned in the swift currents.
The Sheriff’s Office continues to urge the public to use caution when near open waters. The water levels are much higher and swifter this year than in the past and are deadly.
"Stay away from the river's edge and don't enter the water, especially if you do not know how to swim or have been consuming alcohol," Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said. "Arrive safe and go home safe."