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Man drowns in Kern River after reportedly jumping in to save two children

Man rescued from Kern River near Lake Ming campground
Posted at 9:47 AM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 20:08:51-04

KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — A man drowned in the Kern River this weekend he reportedly jumped in to save two children.

According to the Kern County Sheriff's Office, the call came out just before 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning 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 a 40-year old man who jumped in to help the kids and got them to safety before he disappeared. His body was located about an hour later.

The coroner's office has not identified the victim.

"I think that people right now underestimate the dangers of the river because the water is at a pretty low level right now. But it's still extremely dangerous as evidenced by this past weekend," explained Danielle Kernkamp, spokesperson for the Kern County Sheriff's Office. "The easiest way to avoid any type of danger in the river is to just stay out of it. So you can enjoy it from the side, you can fish, but really staying out of the river, and if you feel have to go in, make sure to wear those floatation devices that have been certified for the river."

And as KCSO mentioned the best way to be safe on the river is to avoid going in it at all. But what about other ways to stay safe? 23ABC took a deeper look and found some more tips for you if you decide to go in the water.


Kern River Safety Tips

And despite this weekend's drowning KCSO says this year has been a relatively safe one on the river compared to years past.

Earlier this year the sheriff's office updated the sign posted outside the Kern River Canyon, which tallies the number of people who have died in the river since 1968. Eight more deaths were added to the sign, meaning eight people drowned last year.

So far KCSO says two people have drowned this year. Thirty-eight-year-old Jorge Romero of Wasco drowned in June and then the one on Sunday.