Tulare County rescue teams searching for teen missing in Tule River

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Rescue crews began searching for the 16-year-old Sunday evening after witnesses say he fell in after slipping on a rock.

"Unfortunately at this point in the game we're on a recovery mission due to the technical nature of the river," said Lt. Kevin Kemmerling. "Water temperature and how severe the flow is right now, unfortunately, we're looking at a recovery."

The teenager did not know how to swim and was not wearing a life vest when he fell into the white water.

Officials say even experienced swimmers would be no match for the fast-moving currents and icy conditions of the Tule River.

"Our water temperatures right now are about 48-50 degrees," Kemmerling said. "Hypothermia is going to set in a matter of seconds and survivability without a life jacket, dry suit, wet suit... it'll kill you almost immediately."

Multiple agencies, including members from Tulare County swift water rescue and dive team as well as Tulare County Fire, are helping look for the teenager but with no success as of now.

Rescuers warn against approaching the river even if it looks calm and inviting

"White water is one of the most dangerous forces on earth it's powerful it's fast it's relentless and once you get into it you can't fight against it," Kemmerling said.

Crews will continue to comb the river until the body is recovered
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