‘Stay Out of the Water:’ Officials Issue Warning on River Safety

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SACRAMENTO -- The beautiful spring day Sunday had a lot of people in Sacramento cooling off at beaches along the American River.

However, swimming in the river this time of year doesn’t come without risks.

"Watch out for the water because it is swift and cold," said Sacramento resident Chris Johnson.

The string of water rescues and drownings in recent weeks has proven how strong the current can be.

"We actually have had a drowning scare with a friend and the scariest thing about that was that it’s silent," said resident Michelle Kizner.

"Right now it’s probably a very good idea to stay out of the local rivers and streams," said Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Capt. Adam Huckaby. "The water is very cold and moving very fast right now."

Huckaby told FOX40 the recent wet winter has made water levels higher and stronger than usual, elevating the dangers.

"(People) underestimate the power the water can have," Huckaby said. "Water right now is moving faster than it usually is this time of year and it’s cold. The water is about 50 degrees, which your body will last about 30 seconds before you can start losing muscle control and not even be able to swim, and have trouble breathing at that time too."

First responders say it’s important to teach kids lessons on water safety at a young age. Mom Michelle Kizner agrees.

"We talk about how deep it is, being conscious of how it can get deep quickly, being conscious of the current," she said.

Huckaby said it's best to never take any chances around moving water.

"Go play on the banks but stay out of the water," he said.

He also said it’s wise to always wear a life jacket when out on the water, even if you’re an experienced swimmer.

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