Woman dies in San Joaquin River by Kerman in Fresno County

A woman died Sunday at a popular chill spot along the San Joaquin River.

Rescuers rushed to Skaggs Bridge Park near Kerman around 4:30 p.m. when a 911 call to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center reported someone had gone underwater and n failed to ascend.

Madera and Fresno county sheriff’s deputies and a US ambulance rescue team responded to the scene.

“Upon arrival, American Ambulance Swift Water Rescue entered the water and began searching for the victim,” Fresno County Sheriff’s Sgt. says Jeff Stricker. “Around 5:45 a.m., the victim was located.

“She was recovered, pulled out of the water, but unfortunately she was beyond help and she was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Stricker said the woman was described as 40 years old. His identity has not been revealed.

“Large bodies of water, especially moving water, are incredibly dangerous, especially when you go swimming in a river or lake,” Stricker said. “You don’t know what’s under the surface of the water, especially right now the water is pretty low. But there are still sections of the river that get deep and often people don’t can’t swim.

“They’ll come out to the river, and they’ll play in the shallows, which is fine, but then they’ll start to come out a little bit further, and it’ll sink, and they’ll sink, they’ll fall in the water , and they can’t swim, they start having problems, and then stuff like that can happen.

The section of the river where the victim was found, Stricker said, was about 12 to 14 feet deep. Maybe 10 meters upstream was much shallower.

One of the divers who searched for the victim required medical assistance at the scene as they exited the river.

“He was there for quite a while,” Stricker said. “Even if it’s hot and you think going in the water is cool, the water temperature is probably around 85 degrees. You can still sweat in the water. If someone has ever played water polo and the pool temperature is hot, you will sweat and become dehydrated very quickly.

“He was out there for quite a while and got a bit dehydrated with the heat and couldn’t cool down. He got some fluids and he’s fine now.

This story was originally published August 21, 2022 7:38 p.m.

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