Location: Kern River

Incident Date: 05/29/2016

Incident Time: 1600 & 1645 hours

Case Number: 16-06858 & 16-06862

Victim: Multiple Victims

City: Kern River

Posted by: Dispatch


On Sunday, May 29 at approximately 1600 hours, The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding four individuals that had become stranded on the Kern River while kayaking a section of class III white water called the Buzzard’s Perch.


Members of the Sheriff’s Swiftwater Dive Rescue Team were stationed on the Kern River due to the increased visitation during the holiday weekend. Deputies arrived on scene within minutes and were able to successfully access the victims with the use of their inflatable rescue boat. The four victims were successfully rescued and brought back to safety with only minor injuries.


Immediately following the first rescue, Deputies came upon a second incident where a commercial raft had become trapped on a rock in Class III white water called the Tequila Chute. The raft was wedged in the middle of the river above rapids and was occupied by 10 individuals. Utilizing swift water rescue techniques and specialized disciplines, each subject was pulled from the rapids one at a time. After all individuals were safely on shore, Deputies were able to remove the raft from the rapid. No one suffered any injuries and the group was able to continue their trip down river safely.


The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public of the dangers of fast moving rivers and white water. Please do not enter white water without proper safety equipment, training and knowledge of river hydrology. All of the 14 victims rescued survived because they were wearing life jackets.