SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Last year 35,000 partiers hit the American River. A dozen were arrested and dozens more were rescued.

Parts of the American River were crowded last year, with “Rafters Gone Wild,” getting out of control.

“On our end we had about 10 to a dozen arrests,” said Dep. Jason Ramos, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department and half a dozen other rescue agencies tasked with watching over the river party event are worried that this year could be much of the same, if not worse.

“There will be water rescues. It’s just inevitable reality. That many people together drinking a lot of alcohol,” said Ramos.

Social media advertising for the event and temperatures topping 100 this week have helped push attendance past 3000.

That’s 3000 people, many drinking and many in the water.

While temperatures on land may be a steamy 90 degrees, temperatures in the water may only reach 60 degrees.

“The water is freezing. I just jumped in,” said one rafter.

And, it’s not just the temperatures. Fast moving currents can quickly overcome even seasoned swimmers not wearing life jackets.

“It definitely took us down; you had to swim against it to come up,” said another rafter.

Law enforcement officials are putting out the appeal to party-goers. The party may be wild but don’t let things get out of control.

“You know, Rafting Gone Wild, hopefully doesn’t end with somebody gone under,” said Ramos.

Some county leaders want to get legislation passed that would place an alcohol ban on events like this one, just like the bans that already exist for three major holidays.


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