A week after teen goes missing, officials close access to Tule River

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Access to Tule River closes a week after teen goes missing
Tulare County and Sequoia National Forest officials have issued a temporary closure of the Tule River starting Tuesday.

SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (KFSN) -- Even from far away, the roar of the Tule River is audible.

Officials say heavy snowmelt has contributed to swift, cold water flowing in the river, making it dangerous for everyone.

A 16-year-old who didn't know how to swim went into the river more than a week ago.

Search efforts by Tulare County Sheriff's Swiftwater Dive Rescue team have been unsuccessful to date.

To prevent more tragedies, the acting supervisor of Sequoia National Forest issued a temporary closure of the Tule River on Tuesday.

Access to areas along the river's middle fork, and south and north forks of the middle fork is restricted until further notice-including the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

RELATED: Tulare County rescue teams searching for teen missing in Tule River

The closure affects popular swimming spots like 'The Stairs,' and the many access points on the way to Wishon Campground.

Closure signs were already up by Tuesday afternoon, along with the official order and accompanying maps.

The forest service closed public access to the river around this time two years ago, after the river's powerful currents took the lives of three people from Bakersfield.

That closure was in effect all summer long.

This is also a temporary closure.

Officials say they will reassess river conditions throughout the summer and reopen public access when it's safe.