According to an Action News crew on the scene, an Hispanic family from Live Oak was spending the day having a picnic and rafting on the Palm Avenue pond near Biggs, in the Oroville Wildlife Area. The father took his two children, a 5 year old and a 2 year old, both wearing life vests, on a yellow raft. Witnesses say the pond very calm, but it may contain many reeds and weeds. The children's mother, who doesn't speak English, indicated to investigators that the 2 year old stood up and fell into the water. The child's father jumped in. According to the woman, the father did know how to swim, so it's suspected he may have gotten tangled in the reeds. The children's mother began screaming when a nearby angler, fishing with his two children, ran to assist. The fisherman didn't know how to swim very well but jumped in anyway to try and save the father and toddler. He was able to pull both from the water. The father was already lifeless, according to witnesses, but the toddler was alive. The fisherman performed CPR on the father while his kids called 911. The children were able to successfully describe their location, helping rescuers get there more quickly. The toddler was taken to the hospital, and later pronounced dead. The father was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rescuers say the fisherman and his children were heroic in their efforts to try and save the family.
Photo courtesy of John Loewe with the Oroville Mirror.