A sister and brother, aged eight and four, drowned on Sunday, May 21, after they were swept away in a California river that was closed to recreational users due to high water levels.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office reported that the children, who were accompanied by their mother and her friend, entered the Kings River, situated about a mile from the Pine Flat Dam. Their goal was to reach a particular rock for climbing. However, the swift current carried the children away. Neither child was wearing a life jacket at the time.
Just before 2 pm, the children were swept downstream, prompting a search and rescue operation. Less than an hour into the search, rescuers found the lifeless body of the eight-year-old girl near the spot where she had entered the water. The following morning, approximately two miles downstream from the initial location, they discovered the body of the four-year-old boy.
The Kings River has been off-limits to recreational users since March 14, following heavy winter storms and snowmelt that led to dangerously high water levels. Numerous signs have been posted along the river, indicating the closure and warning the public against entering the water. According to the sheriff’s office, failure to comply with these warnings results in a minimum fine of $225.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning to potential swimmers, advising that the river’s conditions are expected to worsen during the summer months. They stressed that the water will remain cold, and the strong currents, coupled with potential obstacles like trees, pose significant risks.
The water levels of the Kings River are being monitored daily, and the river will only reopen to the public once the hazardous conditions have subsided.