Body recovered from American River near Capital City Freeway

Sacramento Fire Department boat crews have recovered a body from the American River.

The body of a black male adult was located Monday afternoon under the Union Pacific Railroad bridge near the Capital City Freeway overcrossing, said Chris Harvey, Fire Department spokesman..

He said Union Pacific crews were working on top of the bridge about 3 p.m. when they spotted what appeared to be a body in the water below and contacted the fire department.

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Alleged Gunman Leads Rangers On Slow-Speed Pursuit In Kayak

A fisherman is facing serious charges after allegedly putting down his rod and pulling out a gun.

Park rangers arrested John Guess for shooting at a person along the American River. Ranger Elmer Marzan responded to the reports of shots fired, after an argument turned violent.

Then came the search for the gunman.

“We were dealing with our suspect, in this case who was floating down river in a kayak,” Ranger Marzan said.

The gunman in his getaway kayak led rangers on a slow speed pursuit.

“How fast can you go in a kayak?” CBS13’s Steve Large asked kayaker Randy Riley. “Not very fast, not very fast,” Riley said.

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Folsom Lake Filled With Debris, Boating Difficult For Visitors

It was a Fourth of July celebration and the party going was on at Folsom Lake.

“Happy 4th of July!”

So much so the lake reached maximum capacity.

“We got turned around. That’s the first time that that’s ever happened and we were shocked,” said Krista Bernasconi of Roseville.

But despite the crowds of people, logs were also jamming up the fun.

“We had to pile all those logs up just so we could get through the water,” said Myrna Kitchens of Roseville.

From the shore to the water though, it was a slightly different story.

“It’s a little bit choppy. There’s a lot of boats out here, but it’s great,” said Mike Funk.

Plus, there was a lot less debris.

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Locals try to seek safe spots on the American River

As Fourth of July approaches, people are heading to the area’s waterways to stay cool, but some are avoiding the most dangerous spots on the American River.

On Sunday, many people were cooling off at Lake Natoma – a calmer portion of the river near Folsom.

“As you can see here, they have the swimming holes for the children and that’s where it’s all calm,” said Shane Nischke. “And you can see where everybody else is kayaking, it’s great out there — there’s nothing roaring through here.”

The Nischke family came all the way from Auburn to enjoy this spot, even though there are plenty of rivers where they’re from.

“It’s just dangerous,” he said, referring to those rivers. “For the last three years, this is the place I come with my children because it’s the safest.”

Nischke is familiar with the dangers of the American River because he lost a close friend in a drowning incident on the river.

“He was out on a trail and then he fell in right in the rapids and the undertow took him and wrapped him up around a log,” he said. “He couldn’t get out, and therefore, his life was ended that day.”

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Rafting scene mild, not wild, at annual American River event

Rafting Gone Wild wasn’t quite as wild as it was last year.

Last year, one of the organizers of Rafting Gone Wild jumped off a bridge to avoid law enforcers. Park rangers made six arrests at the 2016 event on suspicion of everything from public intoxication to battery on a police officer.

This year, that level of mayhem was not equaled as of late Saturday afternoon.

At the Clay Banks off El Manto Drive in Rancho Cordova, hundreds of kayaks, rafts and other floatation devices moved across the American River early Saturday.

Participants varied widely in age, from the very young to the elderly. They also varied widely in their levels of public intoxication. Although there were signs around the river indicating that alcohol was banned, some did not heed the warning. While many rafts featured large families out to have outdoor fun on a hot day, others had large coolers, flasks and drink cups.

As of 6 p.m., there was no official report of the number of arrests made and citations issued.

While the event’s Facebook page describes the area as “the biggest party on the shores,” there wasn’t much obvious public drinking, likely influenced by the park rangers who were stationed right off the river.

“People are trying (to party) but they’re just staking it out,” said one female rafter. When her group was asked if they had been drinking, all but one smiled and shook their heads no. One member, however, gave two thumbs up.

Bill Thomas, one of the rafters, led a group of family and friends that came from as far as Santa Rosa, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and even Florida.

For Thomas, Rafting Gone Wild is a yearly tradition. For past events, he has made a PVC pipe water-shooter and a cross-beam water balloon slingshot, the latter of which was later banned from the event. He said the number of revelers has decreased over the years.

“Each year there are fewer and fewer people here,” he said. “I think that has a lot to do with tablets and other forms of entertainment that we didn’t have back in the day.”

Still, Thomas and his group still enjoy the event. “We really love it,” he said.

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Another Rafting Gone Wild event, another alcohol ban on the American River

Alcohol will be banned this weekend along the American River from Hazel Avenue to Watt Avenue in anticipation of crowds for Rafting Gone Wild.

For safety, the Sacramento County Regional Parks director issued the restriction for Saturday and Sunday in an effort to prevent problems associated with the unpermitted event.

“The event being advertised for Saturday and Sunday has a strong focus on alcohol consumption, which contributes greatly to public safety concerns,” states a county news release.

Rafting Gone Wild, which has been coordinated on social media over the years, has drawn thousands of people to the American River. County officials estimated about 3,000 showed up last year.

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California Heat Wave Sending Record Snow Melt Surging Into Rivers

The heat wave is melting snow in the Sierra, which is bringing freezing cold water into the valley’s lakes, streams and rivers.

The effects of the snowmelt can also be deadly and proved so on Tuesday.

“With this fast moving water it does not take long for someone to get in trouble,” said State Parks Ranger Scott Liske.

Liske says a group of friends from Sacramento was swimming in the main channel of the North Fork when one of them drowned.

“He went downstream, and his friends ran after him, telling him to grab o to something. He did go under the surface and did not come back up,” Liske said.

Liske couldn’t identify the victim but says he was 20-years old. The heavy flows are also a concern at the Yuba River in Nevada County.

The heavy flows are also a concern at the Yuba River in Nevada County.

“One of the things we are concerned about is not just the issues in the upper elevations; as the snow starts to melt it finds its way down to the lower elevations,” said Nevada County Spokesman Joshua Pack.

Pack says he often sees people jumping into the river like it’s a swimming pool.

“It was over 100 degrees yesterday, definitely not hanging out at my place,” said Brian, who came to swim in the river to cool off.

He says he knows what to look out for, so he doesn’t end up under water.

“Keeping close to the edge, definitely not going into the white part, try not to be swept away too quickly,” Brian added.

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