Brother, Sister Die After River Sweeps Them Away

Boy, 4, and girl, 8 are killed in California
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2023 3:14 PM CDT
Closed River Sweeps Away Brother and Sister
Earl Gomes, 33, stands at a berm he built to protect his home from possible Kings River flooding in central California last month.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A California river closed to the public because of its high water levels swept away two children Sunday afternoon. Crews searching the Kings River in central California found the body of an 8-year-old girl quickly and her 4-year-old brother's body on Monday, per KFSN. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said the children, along with their mother and her friend, stepped into the water about a mile from Pine Flat Dam, NBC News reports. "The group was trying make their way out to a specific rock to climb on when the current carried the kids away," the sheriff's office said. The children were not wearing life jackets, the statement said.

The rescue effort enlisted 40 search and rescue personnel, boats, a remote-controlled vehicle in the water, drones and a sheriff's helicopter, per KFSN. The girl's body was found near the dam and the boy's two miles downriver. Recreational users have been prohibited from using the river since mid-March, when heavy storms and melting snow led to dangerous water levels. Signs saying so have been placed along the river. Violations can bring fines, and officials said parents letting their children go into the water could be charged with child neglect and child endangerment. "The water remains cold, in the low 50s, the current is swift, and trees serve as dangerous obstacles," sheriff's officials said. (More California stories.)

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