June 27, 2018 – On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, just after 3:00pm, the Regional Dispatch Center received a 911 call from the South Fork of the Yuba River at the Highway 49 crossing regarding a male subject submerged in the river. Unfortunately after lifesaving efforts, Mario Benassi, age 23 from Colfax was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Statements taken indicate Benassi was with a group of friends swimming in the rapids approximately 300 ft. downstream from the South Fork Bridge, when Benassi went over a waterfall and did not surface. His friends tried to dislodge him from the rocks; however the force of the water proved to be too powerful.

Benassi’s family lives out of state and have been notified. Benassi’s death appears to be a drowning; however final results from the pathologist are pending.

Tragically, this is the second death at the South Fork of the Yuba River at Highway 49 this year. Please be cautious when recreating and recognize the hazards in fast moving water.