The Sunday rescue of nine people thrown out of rafts along the Stanislaus River east of Oakdale ended well, with no serious injuries.
But another drowning death in the Stanislaus River that occurred Wednesday, June 28 shows that the river continues to be too dangerous to navigate safely, as a woman in her 20s could not be revived after being pulled from the water.
Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Kevin Wise said the incident occurred along the Stanislaus, west of the historic covered bridge at Knights Ferry. The woman was reportedly with a group of co-workers floating down the river on a makeshift inner tube raft, added Wise.
Fire crews were dispatched to the scene near the ‘Russian Rapids’ area of the river around 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 28 for a river rescue and learned that CPR was being performed on the woman.
According to authorities, the woman and several others were thrown from the raft when it struck a tree and she became entangled in the rigging that held the inner tubes together, getting trapped under the surface of the fast-moving water.
All of those on the inner tube raft were wearing life jackets and everyone else got out safely, but the woman – identified as 22-year-old Rachel Terrazas of Sonora – could not be revived.
Local officials have warned people to stay out of the river – which is running at roughly 1,500 cfs – cubic feet per second – and remains at dangerously high levels. Temperatures are also still cold and the combination of fast moving, bitter cold water can turn deadly in minutes.
With the summer heat here to stay, authorities are still urging people to stay out of the Stanislaus and look toward pools, local lakes and reservoirs to cool off instead. If at a reservoir or lake, always use a life jacket and do not leave children unattended in the water.
The higher than normal rainfall of the past season, in combination with the snow melt in the mountains, is making the river much too dangerous to navigate safely, officials said.