It was an emotionally tough day for a Sacramento family, as the body of a 17-year-old boy was recovered from the American River in Auburn.
While swimming near the confluence of the north and middle forks of the American River, 17-year-old Aaron Vang went under the river’s current and was swept away on Saturday. That kicked off a massive rescue mission, which soon became a recovery. Sunday morning, divers discovered his body.
Vang’s body was discovered between the Old Highway 49 Bridge and the No Hands Bridge just after 10 Sunday morning.
“I watched him go under the surface one time and then he did not reappear,” said Scott Liske, a California State Parks ranger supervisor.
Liske happened to be on patrol when Vang first went in on Saturday.
“I heard some people yelling and making a commotion, and I looked up and saw someone in the water. They weren’t struggling but they weren’t necessarily swimming,” Liske said.
Even with the immediate response from rescue crews, Vang wasn’t located until Sunday, only after dive teams requested the flow of the river be reduced.
“With those reduced flows it made it much easier for the divers, a lot less fatiguing,” Liske said.
Vang’s large extended family waited as crews prepared to transport his body back home to Sacramento. Vang’s aunt told FOX40 the Florin High School student was set to turn 18 this year.
While the confluence of the American River in Auburn seems inviting, authorities warn people to be extra careful with the swift cold water. Three weeks ago, a trial runner also drowned on this same stretch of the river and Liske worries it will happened again.
“There’s no reason to enter the water unless you’re properly prepared. So if you’re going to fly fish or kayak or go rafting, you got something to increase your survivability. You got a wet suit, a dry suit, certain a personal flotation device is a minimum,” Liske said.