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Authorities identify man who drowned in Kern River after reportedly saving two kids

Drowning in Kern River under investigation
Posted at 1:58 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 16:58:21-04

KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — A man who drowned in the Kern River reportedly trying to save two children has been identified Monday.

Juan Carlos Villegas-Ornelas, 41, of Santa Ana, Calif., drowned on Aug. 1 in the Kern River Canyon along Hwy. 178 between mile markers 23 and 24. Search and rescue crews arrived on the scene and found two juveniles stranded on a rock.

The search began for Villegas-Ornelas who jumped in to help the kids and got them to safety before he disappeared. His body was located about an hour later.