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Emergency responders were kept busy yesterday answering the calls of those who needed help. (Photo of a rescue at Lewis Creek courtesy of the Madera County Sheriff's Office)

Multiple Search and Rescues in Madera County Foothills

MADERA COUNTY— The Madera County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) reports that shortly before 11:30am on June 19, 2024, their Communications Center received an emergency call reporting an unresponsive female in the water near Angel Falls. Search and Rescue teams, along with USFS, Madera County Fire & CALFire, Sierra Ambulance, and the CHP H-40 helicopter responded to the area. During the operation, SAR deputies located items which led them to believe an adult male may also be missing. Search efforts to confirm and locate him were then initiated.

The female was recovered from the water, and she was confirmed deceased at the scene. During recovery efforts, a male was subsequently recovered from the water as well. Their identities are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. MCSO can confirm they were both local to Madera County.

While the rescue operation in Angel Falls was underway, another Search and Rescue medical aid call came in. Around 12:15pm, MCSO received a report of a female with a possible broken leg at Lewis Creek. SAR teams were deployed to the area and located an adult female with non-life threatening injuries. The patient had slipped and twisted her ankle during a hike. Team members loaded her into a stokes litter and rescue wheel, then hiked out to an awaiting Pistoresi ambulance who transported her to a local area hospital.

Image of Sheriff Tyson Pogue.

Sheriff Tyson Pogue.

Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue reflects, “Our hearts go out to the families of those who were lost at Angel Falls today. We would like to thank our allied partners for their outstanding support and response to today’s events, whose simultaneous occurrence stretched resources. I applaud the efforts of the rescue and recovery teams, who performed their duties diligently and respectfully.”

He continued to say “We love our community members and those that come to Madera County to enjoy one of the most beautiful places on earth. We want them to be safe, enjoy our scenery, and be able to come back and visit again.”

MCSO has these reminders for people who are recreating in the area. With locations such as Angel Falls that are close to parking lots and trails, hikers often have a false sense of security about the level of danger that exists. When hiking around the water, extra caution needs to be taken. Rocks can be extremely slippery even when they aren’t wet. One missed step can result in a serious injury or fatality.

The water is extremely swift, and deadly cold. Warm air temperatures do not mean warm water temperatures. Cold water can very quickly remove heat from the body and lead to a loss of movement in the limbs. When heading into rivers and streams, always take precautions such as wearing a life vest, bringing a life preserver with you, and following all river/stream closures.

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Sierra News Online

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