Man dies attempting to rescue woman from Oakhurst river

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A man died trying to save a life in Oakhurst. (KFSN)

A man died trying to save a life in Oakhurst. Sheriff's deputies say the man jumped into Lewis Creek to pull a woman out of the water after she fell in.

Yelena Choin who lives near the river said, "it's not only pretty, it's dangerous."

On Thursday, she says a group of people showed up for a picnic and walked right past the warning signs, "danger, slippery...people don't listen," Choin added.

Two people got too close. Choin says a woman fell into the water and a man jumped in to save but they both got trapped under a waterfall. Someone called for help and deputies with the Madera County Sheriff's Office showed up. A photographer with Sierra News Online captured the rescue effort.

Commander Bill Ward said, "when the deputies got there, they did what they could."

Ward says the man was already dead but the deputies climbed down in time to keep the woman's head above water. Still, it took three hours, he says to get her out.

"We had ropes tied to trees and rocks and we had different rope systems set up so the guys were able to go down safely," Ward said.

Choin added, "she was so cold, there was many blankets thrown down and she was covered with blankets to keep her warm."

The woman was flown to the hospital. Choin says she was breathing and alert but it's not clear what killed the man who tried to save her - whether it was the temperature of the water or the rocks.

"Sad...it's very sad...on this beautiful day." Choin said.

It all happened in a place where Choin says people like to visit but rarely get permission, "please respect private property," Choin added, "I don't want trouble...I don't want you to be in trouble."
Related Topics:
newsdrowningaccidentmadera countyOakhurst
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