On Wednesday April 19th, 2023 at approximately 4:30pm Nevada County Consolidated Fire District (NCCFD) Swiftwater rescue team was dispatched for a possible drowning in a remote area of the South Yuba River approximately 1 ½ miles from the Bridgeport Crossing. Based on initial reports and remoteness of the incident, 2 members of our Helicopter Rescue Team were activated in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol Helicopter (CHP H-20). Units from North San Juan Fire, Penn Valley Fire, Camptonville Fire and Nevada County Consolidated Fire faced challenging terrain while accessing the patient.
Upon arrival the crews located an unresponsive teenage male on the bank of the river with one other kayaker in attendance. The kayaker was reported as being one of four experienced kayakers running the river together.
Due to the patient’s location and surrounding topography, CHP H-20 with HRT members conducted hoist operations to move the unresponsive kayaker to awaiting paramedic crews at Bridgeport. Despite resuscitation efforts by the kayakers the patient was determined deceased at scene.
This unfortunate event is an early reminder that our rivers are powerful, cold, and relentless. The snowmelt from the Sierra is expected to last into July with unseasonably high-water flows.
Regardless of your level of comfort, be aware of your surroundings and situation.