After a water rescue at Millerton Lake on Friday night, a man was flown to the hospital by helicopter. At 6:10 p.m. on Friday, a guy, age 21, leaped off the courtesy dock without a life vest, prompting the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department to respond.
Preserved land in California According to Sergeant Steve Barber, the 21-year-old did not know how to swim before he got into the ocean. “By the witness statements that we collected from the folks and the family that were in the area, the gentleman was not wearing a life jacket and didn’t know how to swim,” said Sgt. Barber. Sheriff’s deputies found him and performed CPR for 15–20 minutes.
The tweet below verifies the news:
HAPPENING NOW: Reports came in just after 6pm for a drowning at Millerton Lake.
Officials say they were able to recover the 21-year-old man and performed CPR for 15 minutes. He’s now being transferred by helicopter to Community Regional Medical Center. @ABC30 pic.twitter.com/hxkOnkCr07
— Brianna Willis (@briannaabc30) July 15, 2023
His condition is critical at the Community Regional Medical Center, where he was transported. “This is our second drowning in two weeks,” Sergeant Barber added. A man who had been retrieved from Millerton Lake earlier this month died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
According to paddleboarder Ryan Pratt, who has been visiting Millerton for the past 15 years, he has witnessed firsthand what happens when people are careless around the water. “I used to always laugh when I read these things about people drowning in the lake, but it can happen, it can happen to you as an adult and as a strong fit adult,” said Pratt.
Pratt claims he’s had to take matters into his own hands to help those in need. “I’ve pulled kids out of the water here before, many times, I can think of three right off hand here that I pulled out,” said Pratt. Something Sergeant Barber believes occurs much too frequently in Fresno County and the rest of the country.
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“The fact is the matter is there is 11 drownings per day in the United States, which means every 130 minutes a person in the United States dies of drowning, That is something that is on the rise right now in the United States,” said Sgt. Barber.
Barber warns that this weekend’s high temperatures and full lake levels from snowmelt underscore the need to take advantage of available services, such as life vests and swimming areas supervised by lifeguards.
“We have plenty of opportunity for people to get into some serious trouble, we’re really depending upon the people that call this place home to make safe decisions for themselves because there’s only so many rescuers out there that can watch out for you,” says Sgt. Barber.
And he or she adds that the water safety rules at Millerton Lake are simple. “Plain and simple, if you don’t know how to swim, you shouldn’t be in the water,” said Sgt. Barber.
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