1 man killed, another rescued from Kings River after boating accident

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Authorities said on Tuesday afternoon tragedy started when two men went up stream. As they were coming back down, they approached a strainer area near the bridge. (KFSN)

Hours after an ambulance took off with a man who drowned in the Kings River Fresno County's air support unit flew over the scene.

Authorities said on Tuesday afternoon tragedy started when two men-- one 41-years-old, the other 57-- went up stream. As they were coming back down, they approached a strainer area near the bridge. That is when they tried making a U-turn to avoid hitting the deadly obstacle-- but the boat capsized, sending both men into the water.

Rod Riffel lives along the Kings River and was home during the search and rescue. He said trees, rocks, and other vegetation in the waterway are often reasons people end up on his property.

"You'll see them walking up here trying to find somebody that will take them back to their car or call a friend-- yeah you knew this was going to happen."

Deputies said the man in his 40's told them within one minute of being in the frigid water he knew he was in trouble because of how fast it was moving. Luckily he was able to pull himself out-- however, his 57-year-old friend was swept away and died.

Since Fresno County's portion of the Kings River has only been open for a week, authorities want to remind people the dangers of being out on the water.

"The water is still moving very swiftly, water levels are up and the water is very cold," said Lt. Ryan Hushaw, Fresno County Sheriff's Office. "So while the river is open for recreational use we remind people to be very cautious in what they are doing and remain safe while recreating on the river."

The 41-year-old survivor only suffered a few cuts and bruises and he is expected to be okay.

The boat has not been recovered and deputies said it is in an area that they feel is not safe for them to pull out at this point.

We have also learned that both men did not have life jackets on even though there were two of them in the boat.

Related Topics:
boat accidentfresno countyKings RiverdrowningFresno County
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