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Man dies at Sequoia National Park trying to save 5-year-old

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SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. June 23, 2018 – Early this morning at about 7:15am the park was notified of a river incident occurring near the Sequoia entrance sign. Park rangers along with Tulare County Fire, and Tulare County Sheriff responded to the call.

After entering the park at about 6:45am, the family decided to walk down to the river near the Sequoia entrance sign. A 5 year-old boy slipped into the river and a 22 year-old male who was with the family jumped in after him. The parents then jumped in to help, and three fishermen bystanders assisted in getting the parents and child out of the water. One of the fishermen and the boy’s father began CPR and were able to resuscitate. The boy was then transported by the Exeter ambulance up to the Life Flight helicopter and was flown out to Kaweah Delta in Visalia, CA. The boy has since then been transported to another hospital where he will continue treatment.

The 22-year-old male who jumped into the river to save the boy did not survive. His body was not visible after he jumped in, and it took rescuers about two hours to retrieve his body.

This is the second river fatality within two weeks in Sequoia National Park, and they were both similar incidents in the same location.

“The issue is not people trying to swim. People and children fall and slip into the river, and family members jump in after them to try to save them. In both cases, the family members who jumped in after the children did not survive.” said Sequoia District Ranger Dave Fox. “The rocks are super slick on the river’s edge, and people should avoid getting close to the water. Please enjoy the river from a safe distance and away from the slippery rocks.”

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