Shortly before 6:00 pm on Saturday, June 1st, deputies with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office responded to Lost Lake Park for a report of two sisters stranded in the San Joaquin River.

The women, 32 and 30 years old, were floating downstream in rafts when one suddenly popped.  Due to the current of the river being too strong to swim in, the woman jumped off the deflated raft and grabbed hold of a tree.  Seeing that her sister was in trouble, the other woman abandoned her raft and made her way to the same tree for safety.

Deputies assigned to the Air Support Unit immediately responded to the call in our EAGLE One helicopter.  Deputies on shore contacted a relative of the women to try and determine exactly where they were stranded.  Deputies relayed the information to our helicopter crew who found the women in the middle of the river.  The pilot hovered the helicopter above the victim and the tactical flight officer dropped a rope with a cinch collar attached to it down to one of the women.  She was able to wrap the collar around her body and the helicopter lifted her out of the water and carried her a short distance to shore where she was safely set on the ground.  Deputies circled back with the helicopter and performed the same procedure to safely rescue the other woman.  Members of Cal Fire Fresno County and EMS personnel who were at the scene evaluated both women and released them.  Neither were injured.  

The California Highway Patrol’s air support team also responded to the call in their helicopter, H-40.  While assisting, the crew recorded video of the first woman being rescued.  H-40 had to leave to handle another call for service prior to the second woman being rescued.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to be safe while doing activities in and around water.  Take simple precautions such as:  Wear a life jacket, stay out of the water if you’re not an experienced swimmer, do not mix alcohol and swimming and invest in good quality floating devices (rafts, tubes) constructed of durable material.  Respect the power of rivers, they often contain strainers, which are large objects like rocks and trees that allow water to pass through, but a person can easily get stuck and pushed under water.  It is extremely difficult to rescue yourself from a strainer.  It typically requires emergency help from trained rescue personnel.  









Contact Information

Tony Botti
Public Information Officer
(559) 600-8137
(559) 977-0379
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