The Rice family has a lot of experience rafting on the American River but this Memorial Day weekend, they took a trip with one of those rafts you can buy at a big box store.
The raft wasn’t up to the challenge of the river, the low water levels and big rocks, and it gave out.
What follows would be a much sadder story if they hadn’t made another stop on their way to the river.
“I would’ve drowned in the river Saturday night,” Jennifer Rice said.
And she wasn’t alone. Her husband, her two kids and a great Dane puppy named Marmaduke were all in trouble on the American River in Sacramento after their raft hit a rock.
“Nate had his back to the whole thing. He didn’t see it at all. The next thing you know he was flung over into the water,” Richard Rice said.
After a quick trip to the hospital, 13-year-old Nate was sent home so Wednesday, he could take a quick trip on a fire engine. It’s the engine at fire station that loaned the Rice’s life jackets for their river float.
“Had I not had this, I would’ve gone under. I would’ve died. And they’re free at the fire station, they loan them out,” Jennifer Rice said.
As it turns out, the family was able to make their way to a small island in the river- a place to and get out of the cold water. Then a rescue helicopter on a training mission out of Placer County was able to pick them up and carry them to safety.