Dinuba High teacher drowns in Kaweah River

DINUBA, Calif.

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Tyson Motto drowned while tubing in the Kaweah River Thursday night. The incident marks the fourth drowning in a South Valley river this year.

The 28-year-old was more than an English teacher at Dinuba High School. Staff calls him irreplaceable and students say he was their friend.

Dinuba High student Brittany Gonzales spent the morning crying over teacher Tyson Motto's death.

Brittany Gonzales said, "I couldn't believe it because he's one of the most, I don't know, he's one of the most exciting teachers here."

When he wasn't teaching English, Motto coached the school's tennis team, and served as Dinuba High's spirit advisor. Students say most of all he was a friend and role model on campus. Many at Dinuba say Motto was intelligent, encouraging and a goofball.

Athletic Director, Ryan Phelan said, "There's about 90 teachers here on campus and I'm sure Tyson's made all of them laugh more than once."

Matthew Ringer said, "He just related with us, would mess around with us with girls and all that and I don't know all together he was just a really good guy."

28-year-old Tyson Motto drowned Thursday evening while tubing with friends in Kaweah River near the North Fork Bridge in Three Rivers. He had just finished earning his master's degree in English at Fresno State and was celebrating with friends.

The Tulare County Sheriff's office says motto was wearing a life-jacket when he fell off his inner tube and into rough rapids. After grabbing hold of some branches for several minutes, witnesses say Motto fell victim to the fast current.

Now his family is coping with his sudden death. Tyson's father told action news, "Tyson was very smart and capable. He had integrity and a sense of responsibility. He had a genuine love for kids and they respected him. He was a fun character who always made you laugh. He was not just my son, he was a friend."

Superintendent, Joe Hernandez said, "I would say that he embodied the Dinuba High School spirit and you'd always see him wearing our school colors and you know present at all the activities and event and he was the life and spirit of our school."

The school has opened up a grieving center with a psychologist available for students. Dozens of students have already been by to comfort each other.

Friday is the last day of summer school and Motto had been teaching students throughout this week.

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