SACRAMENTO — Sacramento Metropolitan Fire crews kept busy over the weekend with more than 30 rescues on the American River Saturday alone.
“Actually, we’ve been fairly busy out here the last couple of weeks,” said Zachary Corbo with the Drowning Accident Rescue Team.
Families flocked to Discovery Park Sunday and rescue teams issued a warning to those venturing out into the water.
“At one point we heard the helicopter say, ‘I think I’ve got 20 or so in the water,’ and to us that’s mind-blowing. That’s a lot of people,” Corbo told FOX40.
A spokesperson with Metro Fire said Saturday, 20 people were rescued at the same time from the American River during just one of six incidents that crews responded to.
“(They) are going to start getting very tired very quickly, they’re obviously going to get very cold very quickly and they’re going to start panicking,” Corbo said.
Crews say in almost all the rescues people were using portable floats and not wearing life jackets.
They say the outflow from the dam has decreased in parts of the American River, exposing trees and rocks that can snag portable floats and pull them apart.
“There’s a reason they’re called pool floaties,” Corbo explained. “They should probably stay in the pool area. They’re not meant for wake or any significant amount of water activity.”
“I had a friend that died, so I make sure they keep their life vests on,” said mother Kim Thomas.
While parents like Thomas say they keep a close eye on their kids while at the river, crews are urging people to stay safe before heading out to the water.
“We never recommend mixing alcohol and water, never recommend it,” Corbo said. “As much fun as it looks, it adds a lot more risk to any normally fun situation.”
Crews suggest families, especially those with small children, stay as close to the shore as possible and, of course, wear a life jacket regardless of age or swimming ability.