Authorities say they reported to the Delta-Mendota Canal on N. Russell and W. Althea Avenues just south of Dos Palos. Lieutenant Louis Hernandez of the Fresno County Sheriff's department says the call came in at 4:46 Friday night.
Deputies say the father and son had gone fishing over a bridge, when the son fell in and the father jumped in after him.
"The child told deputies, he slipped and fell in the canal," Hernandez said. "His father, the victim, jumped in and pushed him into the side and helped him get to safety."
The boy was able to pull himself out of the water, but the current carried his father down the canal and eventually claimed his life. Deputies say nearby fisherman were able to help pull the victim's body out of the water but it was too late.
David Prieto who often fishes at the Delta-Mendota Canal said he's heard of many people drowning by canals.
"They say the water is swift underneath," David Prieto said. "It's dangerous to even wash your hands."
Prieto says when he takes his grandchildren fishing but he also brings his wife to watch the kids. Hernandez says that's a good advice when fishing or playing near canals.
"Always be careful of your surroundings and having another adult with you would be better," Hernandez said.
Authorities have not released the man's name pending notification of family members.