Birthday Boating Trip turns Tragic

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Laughter at a Birthday celebration on the American River for Pedro Mendoza, 38, quickly turned to tears.

“He was still under CPR when he left,” Sac City Battalion Chief Jonathan Williams said.

The family was heading up stream on their boat when tragedy hit.

“He was on the edge of the boat, then he kinda let go and went under, and we all jumped in,”  one family member said. “The current’s taking him. (One of them) got him and found him and got him. and we all tried to put life jackets on him. A couple of guys did CPR.”

Earlier in the day, Carl Smith, a jet skier, spoke with Mendoza.

“He was obviously  intoxicated, [and] in a kayak. he asked me if you can get a DUI for being in a kayak,” Smith said. “Now he’s floating and they’re trying to give him CPR.”

“According to the family and witnesses, he was only under water 3-4 minutes, which is really good for a drowning victim to get out.”  The battalion chief said. “Nicer weather. the river’s lower. You might think it’s safer, but there is a better chance of dropping into the channels.”

“This water is just unrelenting. It’s very dangerous, and they’re not giving it the respect it needs,”  Smith added.

Pedro Mendoza died after being transported to the hospital. Police also say there were no signs of foul play.

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