Four teenage boys, though cold and shaken, were saved from the Fresno River behind Rivergold Elementary School in Yosemite Lakes Park on Thursday night after their boat capsized, leaving one of them stuck on an island in need of a rope rescue, sheriff’s Sgt. Nick Davis said.
Around 6:20 p.m., the Madera County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team arrived at the scene, Davis said. Cal Fire already had arrived to assess the situation.
Davis said the boys – ranging in age from 17 to 18 – were floating down the river in a boat when it struck an object in the water and capsized, throwing them into the freezing water. Two were able to get safely to land before emergency calls were made.
By the time the sheriff’s office arrived, Davis said only one boy remained stuck on the island, as the other three already were safe on shore.
Through combined efforts from the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, Cal Fire, California Highway Patrol, and Sierra Ambulance, crews were able to get the young man a life jacket, then pull him to safety with ropes fewer than 20 minutes later, Davis said.
“I appreciate everyone’s response to this,” Davis said of all the emergency crews who helped in the rescue or keeping traffic clear near the area. “We all worked really well together. It all went very well out there.”
After debriefing at Rivergold Elementary, emergency workers were seen shaking hands and thanking each other for their help in a successful rescue.
All four boys were evaluated by EMS staff, and Davis said they likely suffered only minor injuries, if any.
No drugs or alcohol were suspected as a factor in the incident, Davis said.
Dive teams initially were called out on the rescue but canceled once the boys were safe.
Davis said he hadn’t yet gathered information on the exact ages or places of residence for the teenagers, as crews still were putting together their reports.