A group of rafters celebrating Cinco De Mayo were rescued on the Sacramento River in Redding on Tuesday when their raft got snagged on a log and began deflating. The rafters were able to phone 9-1-1 and were rescued by a Redding Fire Department boat and CHP helicopter, in coordination with the Redding Police Department, just downstream from the E. Cypress Bridge.
After the group phoned 9-1-1, they grew fatigued and the boat deflated further, forcing them to drift downstream. Redding Police Officer Eddie Gilmette, along with the assistance of citizens in a boat, were able to pull three of the rafters out of the water. The other two rafters were hoisted to safety by the CHP helicopter.
The incidents serves as a lesson to anyone looking for outdoor recreation on Northern California rivers, which are typically at their peak flow this time of year and unrelenting in their power and danger. The rafters admitted they didn’t have enough life jackets in the boat, which could have caused a fatal accident.
“The Redding Police Department would like to remind citizens to use caution and never underestimate the swift and frigid waters of the Sacramento River. Rafters should wear life jackets at all times while on the River,” the RPD said in a statment.
As the temperatures heat up in NorCal, the water looks quite inviting. Just be sure to use caution when entering any reservoirs or tributaries.