Location: Kern River Goldledge South Rapids

Incident Date: 6-8-16

Incident Time: 1530 hours

Case Number: 16-07318

Victim: Male Juvenile

City: Tulare County Kern River Area

Posted by: Dispatch

On 6-8-2016 at 1435 hours, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency call of a victim stranded in a dangerous section of the Kern River near the Goldledge Campground. Sheriff's Resident Deputies were first on scene and were able to quickly assess the incident.

The victim, a 16-year-old male, was located on a mid-river island with no way to safely make his way to shore as he was stranded directly above a very dangerous Class-IV+ white water rapid.  The Kern County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team was called to assist in the rescue.

Due to the rugged terrain and river conditions, it was determined an aerial rescue would be necessary.  Kern County Fire Airship 408 responded to the scene and a rescuer was lowered to the victim who was then hoisted to safety.  The victim sustained a sprained left ankle during his fall into the river however did not require medical assistance. 

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public of the dangers of fast moving rivers and white water. Please do not ever enter white water without proper safety equipment, training and knowledge of river hydrology. At this time, the Kern River is at a high rate of flow due to the beginning of summer. The very cold temperature of the water can quickly cause hypothermia, disabling a swimmers ability to swim. No one should enter swift water without wearing a lifejacket when using inner tubes or non-professional rafts as they are easily overturned in the swift currents and can be deflated by impacts with rocks and branches.