Five swimmers rescued from Klamath River

Staff reports

Five swimmers who became distressed while swimming in the Klamath River on Sunday were pulled to safety by CAL FIRE personnel and the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department's Water Safety Team.

The Sheriff's Office received a report of the incident at about 3:30 p.m. on July 22, according to Jayme Lynch, spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office.

They responded to a location about half a mile west of the intersection of Highway 263 and Highway 96 to find two people stuck on a rock in the center of the river, two others stranded amongst a cluster of rocks and one person on the opposite shore, Lynch said.

A member of CAL FIRE with white water rescue training arrived to assist in retrieving the endangered swimmers and consolidating them at a safe location, which enabled the Sheriff's Water Safety Team to pick up all four subjects from the water and the person stranded on the shore, Lynch said..

"Fortunately, this was a successful rescue conducted by joint efforts of CAL FIRE the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, and our specially-trained and equipped Water Safety Team," said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey. "I am relieved that this story had a happy ending and all those endangered were rescued and returned to their friends and loved ones."

Lopey reminded boaters of all kinds and all swimmers that area rivers can be potentially dangerous, especially if you are not familiar with currents, shore conditions, vegetation patterns, and the composition of the river bed environment.

"It is recommended that swimmers and boaters use approved flotation devices, use protective gear, such as helmets, if operating personal or smaller types of watercraft, always travel with others in case you need assistance, carry a means of communication, avoid alcoholic consumption or other drug use, and consult with federal, state or local experts to get the local weather and river conditions prior to embarking on your outing," Lopey stated.

According to the most recent report from the California Department of Boating & Waterways, 30 accidents, 13 injuries and five fatalities occurred on northstate waterways in 2010.

Unsafe boating or other aquatic-related incidents should be reported immediately to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office at (530) 841-2900 (non-emergencies), local law enforcement agency, or, dial 9-1-1 for all emergencies.