Kern River

The Kern River flows west toward Bakersfield.

Casey Christie / Californian file

A man and his cousins were jumping from rocks into the Kern River Saturday morning near Keyesville when BLM and Forest Service officials came over and warned them it was dangerous.

The cousins got out of the water, and the officials left.

One of the cousins, a 22-year-old Los Angeles man, decided not to heed the warnings and jumped back in the river. He was drawn out into the main channel and got caught underneath the surface.

Not long after, he was dead.

“A lot of folks from out of the area haven’t heard the constant warnings, may not be aware of the dangers (of the Kern),” said Kern County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Sgt. Steve Williams, who gave the account. “But in this case, he was made acutely aware minutes before and he ignored that and jumped in.

“I don’t know how to prevent that sort of tragedy.”

By The Californian’s count, this was the seventh drowning on the swollen, fast-moving Kern River this year. Williams thought it was the eighth. Two people are still missing after being lost in the Kern, one in the Keyesville area.

Whatever the exact tally, the river is proving to be what experts expected for 2017 — very, very dangerous. And summer has just begun.

The man who died Saturday has not been identified. That will come from the Kern County coroner’s office later.

Williams was able to say he was camping at the Sandy Flat Campground and jumping off rocks into the river near there. After jumping in and being pulled into the main channel, the man was seen floating facedown.

Bystanders at the Keyesville South Campground saw the body caught in some brush, waded into the water and pulled him out as sheriff’s deputies and Bureau of Land Management personnel were arriving, Williams said.

Someone from BLM conducted CPR on the man with Kern County Fire Department personnel, he said, until Liberty Ambulance crews came on scene and took over life-saving measures.

The man was taken to Kern Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Keyesville area has proven particularly deadly this year.

By The Californian’s tally, Saturday’s victim was the fourth person to be lost there this summer. Two others died; one went missing on June 22 and still hasn’t been found.

(6) comments

mrdwm1

Just leave it alone - keep posting signs everywhere, but let the stupid do as stupid does. This is really what evolution is all about; the very stupid do not get to procreate and flood society with more stupid people. If your brain does not allow you to follow legally posted instructions, and you deliberately ignore directions from those of authority, you don't belong in a civilized society. Well, maybe you'd be ok in a big brain dead city like LA or SF, but the rest of us here should not have to deal repeatedly with you.

Bad Kitty

All I feel now is, stupid is as stupid does because I was born and raised in L.A. but, I live in BTown. [spam]

Bodysnatcher

Sheriff Youngblood said it best, "You can't regulate stupidity." This stupid tragedy underscores his comment.

Nevermind

True, but you can make it illegal. While that won't stop the stupid, it would stop the uniformed.

SonoftheKRV

Who is "you"? Are you addressing the 1st commentor? How can HE make it illegal? Is he the legislating body of California? Would you have him enact this legislation without having it put to a vote by all? And what are you proposing that he make illegal? The condition of stupidity? Entering the Kern River? I wholeheartedly agree with the statement you made and inadvertently demonstrate with the entirety of your comment that the stupid will not be stopped, but why would the uniformed be stopped? Stopped from what? What or who are the uniformed that you claim would be stopped? Military? Police? Pilots? Bus drivers? Fast food workers? All of the above?

Lamonster

Berating someone over a typo? Really?

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