Five rescued in river canyon near Auburn

Two separate rescue efforts brought out five people trapped late Thursday in the American River canyon near Auburn.

The first rescue took place at about 5 p.m. after a report of four people trapped onshore after swimming across the middle fork American River near the confluence and then not being able to swim back because of sudden, higher river flows from a regular upstream dam release.

Two hours later, another canyon rescue was needed using a California Highway Patrol helicopter after an Auburn State Recreation Visitor injured an ankle and was unable to scale a steep canyon wall to walk out.

Superintendent Mike Howard said today that the four people – two men and two women in their 20s from the Elk Grove area – were able to partly walk out before being spotted by a search helicopter and met by a ranger, who helped them get back to the confluence.

Both rescues took place in an area upstream from the confluence, near a treacherous stretch of rapids called Murderer’s Bar.

In the second incident, two people had crossed the middle fork while it was still low and were unable to swim back when the level rose and the current got stronger. Placer County Water Agency releases water from upstream reservoirs for power generation and the higher flows normally arrive at the confluence by mid-afternoon or later.

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CHP Helicopter Rescues Swimmer Trapped By Fast American River Currents

As temperatures rise and the Fourth of July holiday approaches, first responders are warning people to be careful along waterways.

Thursday, California Highway Patrol’s Valley Division Air Operations posted video of a hoist rescue they had to do that day.

Apparently, a person who was swimming near the Middle Fork of the American River got trapped by fast currents on the south side of the river. The swimmer suffered a leg injury and couldn’t hike out, so a helicopter rescue was needed.

CHP Helicopter H-24 flew in and hoisted the swimmer up and out of the area and over to the Old Forest Hill Road Bridge, where an ambulance was waiting.

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Trail construction fills in gaps for cyclists

New construction is in the works in the Folsom Historic District to create Folsom’s first Class IV bike lanes which is expected to be completed in September.

The Lake Natoma Trail Gap Closure Project limits are along the north side of Leidesdorff Street and Riley Street extending from Reading Street to Scott Street. The construction began in early May.

The protected Class IV bike trail coming up from Lake Natoma will allow bicyclists an exclusive 12-feet-wide lane, separate from vehicles and pedestrians. A parallel sidewalk will also be built for pedestrians.

“It’s the first Class IV bike trail, which is a little different for the first one the city has,” said Jim Konopka, senior park planner for the City of Folsom. “That’s a busy area in the Historic District, so we didn’t want to try to mix bikes and pedestrians in that area.”

To help cyclists navigate, the new bike lane will be colored red instead of the standard black asphalt.

“That’s going to help people realize that once you’re on [the lane], just follow that colored trail. That way, they really can’t get lost,” Konopka said. “A big problem is that inexperienced cyclists will come on to the trails. If we have that particular pavement colored, I think it would make it easier for [cyclists] to identify where they are and where they go.”

Traffic has been shifted to accommodate construction, but road closures should not be expected.

“The first phase we started now; we basically moved traffic over. As we move down with construction, you’ll still have two-way traffic,” Konopka said. “The only drawback is cyclists. They happen to compete with the smaller lanes of traffic for that short time.”

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Fire damages building at Sacramento County fish hatchery

A vegetation fire spread to a building at a fish hatchery in Sacramento County, Tuesday evening.

Crews were called out to a fire near the American River trail just before 8 p.m. When firefighters arrived, the fire had spread to a two-story attached garage at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, according to the Sacramento Fire Department.

The garage functions as a live-in facility for workers at the hatchery, authorities said. Workers were at the scene, but everyone made it outside uninjured. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

The Nimbus Fish Hatchery is located along the American River, in the 2000 block of Nimbus Road in Gold River; a community located just to the east northeast of Sacramento.

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Hero dies in river after saving child

A man who was rescuing a child who had fallen into the American River near Kyburz Saturday afternoon ended up drowning himself, after successfully saving the little one’s life, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.

Mir-Khaled Ahmad, 41, from Vacaville, jumped into the river near Randall Tract in the American River Canyon off Highway 50 after seeing the child fall from a rock and into the rapidly moving river shortly before 2:30 p.m.

The rescuer and another person onshore were able to save the child, but tragically Ahmad was swept downriver immediately afterward, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

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Mosquito Bridge to close for annual maintenance

The El Dorado County Community Development Services – Department of Transportation has scheduled the annual Mosquito Bridge maintenance beginning Monday July 9.

Dates are as follows and project dates are estimates based on favorable weather conditions: Daily closures starting Monday, July 9 through Thursday, July 27 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The historical Mosquito Bridge over the South Fork of the American River north of Placerville was built in 1867. Annual maintenance is required to keep the bridge safe and functional. The county bridge crew will be replacing the damaged railing timbers.

During the time of the bridge closure, motorists will need to use  Highway 193 to Rock Creek Road as a detour. Slower speeds and caution are highly recommended.

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Law Enforcement Ready for High Temps, Large Crowds on Water

The Sacramento Police Department will have extra staffing and two patrol boats on the Sacramento River this weekend with temperatures expected to be well over 100 degrees.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s and both city and Metro Fire departments along with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department and DART will all have a presence along the water as well.

“We expect it to be the busiest weekend so far,” Sacramento Police Sergeant Jared Kiser said.

Kiser says the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers at Tiscornia Park could pose the biggest danger to people in the water, specifically swimmers who have been drinking.

While temperatures in the Sacramento River are expected to be in the mid-60s temps in the American River could be in the low- to mid-50s because that water was recently snow in the Sierra.

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Unconscious 14-year-old girl pulled out of American River, officials say

A 14-year-old girl was pulled out of the American River and flown to a local hospital Sunday, authorities said.

Bystanders found the victim underwater near Hagan Community Park and pulled her out, said Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Capt. Chris Vestal. He could not confirm if she was wearing a life jacket.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department was close to the scene and performed CPR until a Sac Metro Fire team arrived.

Metro Fire continued to perform CPR until the victim began to breathe on her own, Vestal said. She did not gain consciousness and was was flown to a local hospital in a helicopter, he said.

With temperatures expected to soar past 100 degrees this weekend, Vestal urged people to exercise caution around the region’s rivers.

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Time to hit the river! — Auburn River Festival kicks off this Saturday

Celebrate the American River at the Free 2018 Auburn River Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Auburn’s Whitewater Park on the North Fork American River. The festival will bring expert whitewater paddlers from throughout the region to compete in a variety of river events.

Downriver Races from No Hands Bridge to the Auburn Whitewater Park will take place from 10 a.m. to noon; Slalom Races, an Olympic event where paddlers must pass through gates hung across the river, from noon to 3 p.m.; and a Whitewater Rodeo competition, where paddlers use the river waves to perform river ballet tricks including somersaults, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. An awards ceremony will follow.

The events will feature competition classes for inflatable and hardshell kayaks, canoes, standup paddle boards and more for men, women and juniors (16 years of age and under) at all skill levels.

The Auburn Whitewater Park is located downstream from the North Fork/Middle Fork American River Confluence at the site of the former Auburn Dam foundation. The festival celebrates ten years since the river was restored to its natural channel at the Auburn Dam site and the Whitewater Park was opened to the public.

For this special event, access to the Auburn Whitewater Park will be made available to the public via a road that extends from the Olmstead Loop Trailhead behind the Fire Station in Cool, California (7250 Saint Florian Ct., Cool, Calif.), all the way to the river. Follow the signs to the Auburn River Festival and yield to hikers, bikers and equestrians who also use the road and intersecting trails. There will be plenty of parking available at the festival site.

In addition to the whitewater events, festival fun will include live music, food trucks, vendors, a silent auction and community group information booths with fun activities for kids. Bring a lawn chair, water, sunscreen and hat. You may bring picnics and alcoholic beverages, but no glass containers. Dogs on leash are welcome.

The festival is a free community event open to all to come and enjoy. The Auburn State Recreation Area $10 per vehicle day use fee will be collected. The California State Parks Annual Poppy Pass can be used to cover the day use fee.

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Man dies after being pulled from the American River trying to evade police

A man died Saturday after being rescued from the American River in downtown Sacramento during an attempt to evade police.

Police were called to the 200 block of Richards Boulevard around 6:50 a.m. for a man who was reportedly acting erratically, said Sacramento Police Detective Eddie Macaulay.

When officers tried to make contact the man, he took off on foot, jumped into the river on Bercut Drive and swam downstream. Officers tried to get him to come ashore, said Macaulay, but the man refused and then was seen going underwater.

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