BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — One person nearly drowned and six others were rescued after entering the Kern River in a kayak Saturday, the Bakersfield Fire Department said.
The fire department said the rescue happened at around 1:30 p.m. near Pyles Boys Campground.
A group of locals headed into the Kern River with kayaks and paddleboards, but shortly after, one member of the group fell out of his kayak and was swept down the river, Bakersfield fire Capt. Jason Kingsley said.
As the kayaker was swept by the undercurrent, he got caught on tree branches that he held onto for about five minutes until he couldn’t hold on any longer, Kingsley said.
At the same time, the fire department had a few members already in the area and they were advised at about 1:30 p.m. by their engineers and drones that a group had gone into the water
One firefighter entered the water on boat and located the individual who was no longer swimming and beginning to sink as his breathing slowed, Kingsley said. The kayaker was then put in a fire crew’s boat.
He is said to have minor bumps and bruises according to the Bakersfield Fire Department.
Following the first rescue, the other six asked to be helped out of the river and firefighters transported them back to land.
Kingsley said visitors are strongly advised to stay out of the Kern River as it is moving much faster than it has in the past.